Martinos Imaging Center at MIT

Martinos Imaging Center provides researchers with access to a range of neuroimaging technologies, including human MRI, small animal MRI, EEG and MEG.

The human 3T MRI scanner is heavily used by multiple research groups, and scanning time on this instrument must be reserved through our online ScanTime scheduling system. Other resources are available by arrangement with the center staff. The information below pertains mainly to the 3T scanner, although some of it is general to all studies at the imaging center.

  • Prospective users of the 9.4T small animal scanner or the EEG system should contact Steve Shannon.
  • Prospective MEG users should contact Dimitrios Pantazis.

New Users

New users of the MRI scanner must attend a safety training class, and must be certified by the staff of the imaging center before they are permitted to conduct scans without supervision. Classes are held regularly throughout the year, and last about 2 hours. Notices of these classes are posted to the user list-serve (MRI-all). To sign up to the listserve please follow this link. Contact Steve Shannon for details.

Training and Certification

To become certified users, researchers must (1) pass the COUHES class on human subject research; (2) attend a training class at the imaging center; and (3) demonstrate familiarity with the center’s policies and procedures regarding safety, subject screening, informed consent, privacy, and the proper use of the center’s equipment.

These topics are covered in detail in the Safety and Operations Training Manual. Questions about scheduling should be directed to the MRI team.

Research on Human Subjects

Federal Law and MIT policy require that experiments at MIT involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the MIT committee on use of humans as experimental subjects (COUHES). Note that MIT policy requires COUHES approval for all human studies, including categories of research that are exempted from review by federal regulation.

In addition to reviewing questions of safety and research ethics, COUHES is responsible for ensuring that MIT research on human subjects is conducted in compliance with the health insurance portability and accountability act (HIPAA), which protects the privacy and security of health information.

All researchers who work with humans must take and must pass a COUHES class on working with human subjects. For further information please refer to the COUHES website.

Research on Animals

Research involving animals must be reviewed and approved by the MIT committee on animal care. For further information, please refer to the CAC website (MIT only).

Reserving time on MRI scanner

The 3T scanner is operated as a fee-for-service facility, in accordance with MIT policy on service centers.

Registered users may book scanning time on the scanner using the online scantime scheduling application. Users may choose to book regular weekly slots (which are allocated by lab) and/or individual time slots. The weekly slots are allocated by the user committee every three months. Individual slots are on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Detailed policies and procedures regarding scheduling, cancellations, billing, and more, can be found here.

All study protocols involving human subjects must be approved by the MIT committee on use of humans as experimental subjects (COUHES). In most cases, external (non-MIT) investigators work under an approved protocol for their MIT collaborator. Interested researchers should contact center director John Gabrieli for more information.


Users are also expected to acknowledge the center in any publications or public presentations that result from use of the center’s resources. Please use the center’s full name, which is: Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT.

Other User Information

Individual users, rather than imaging center staff, are responsible for scheduling and coordinating with their research subjects and for escorting them as needed during their visit to MIT. Users are also responsible for completion of consent forms, subject reimbursement, compliance with relevant regulations, and for storage and analysis of their data. Other important documentation is listed below:

    Martinos Imaging Center
    Main Street @ Albany Street
    Cambridge, MA 02139
    MIT Address: Bldg 46-1171

    phone: 617-324-2702
    fax: 617-324-2701
  • Learn more about the imaging center in the Spring 2009 issue of Brain Scan.