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Brain scans.

Clinical and preclinical imaging

Facilitating high-quality imaging research that helps identify effective new treatments using co-located scanners on NHS Trust premises.

The University’s Imaging Facilities, located across Greater Manchester, offer researchers access to clinical and preclinical imaging modalities, including the north-west’s only PET-MR scanner, one of just eight in the UK.

We provide high quality imaging services for a range of disease areas, from neuroscience to musculoskeletal, cardiovascular to cancer.

Through our team of expert radiographers and physicists, we can also offer support with study design, sequence development and image transfer.  

We manage 3T MR & PET-MR clinical scanners, and PET-CT, 3T & 7T MR pre-clinical scanners.

Our services are available for internal researchers and external study teams.


On this page:

An MR scanner in a hospital.

How we work

We offer high quality preclinical and clinical imaging for both University of Manchester and external PIs, PhD students and commercially-funded clinical trials.

We also provide a range of pre-award support, including costing advice, imaging study design, and data transfer and analysis.

Our radiographers perform the scanning for study teams and transfer scan images in accordance with the study protocols. This can be to PACS or an external data vendor. They are all HCPC-registered radiographers and have undertaken GCP and mandatory Trust training.

Recruitment of participants is the responsibility of the study team. Bookings are made once a study has been formally launched for imaging by the project management team.

This team acts as the hub for applications to use all of our scanners. We are happy to provide assistance with grant proposal support, including costings and imaging study design.

Please contact Denise Ogden ( who can signpost study teams to the appropriate imaging colleague.

Study teams wishing to use our facilities are invited to submit application forms that are reviewed by our in-house team of radiographers, physicists and clinicians to ensure we can deliver the scanning in question.

Our radiographers and physicists complete pre-trial questionnaires and phantom scans for clinical trials, and liaise with external data vendors to qualify our scanners.

Computed tomography scans in motion of lower and middle abdominal body area.


With preclinical and clinical imaging capabilities, we offer a complete imaging package on the translational pathway.

We have experience in imaging on a range of phase I-III clinical trials across, for example, neurology, gene therapy, oncology and musculo-skeletal.


We are working with clinicians and PIs to develop new clinical applications for PET-MR, where we possess the only scanner in the north-west.

We are scanning on a range of simultaneous research studies aiming to bring this novel imaging modality into the clinic, including multi-centre studies and trials with other PET-MR centres in the UK. We are able to facilitate such multi-centre trials. A major part of our in-house physicists’ work is to develop novel sequences for this scanner.

As the funding for the scanner was provided by the Dementias Platform UK initiative, the focus has been on dementia research, but we also image on other disease areas such as cardiology, respiratory medicine and urology.

We have recently extended our provision at the PET-MR suite to include MR-only paediatric research scanning with participants undergoing general anaesthetic/sedation.


The Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust is home to the Manchester Centre for Clinical Neurosciences and a new Philips Elition 3T MR scanner that the University has access to. The scanner focuses on neuro research, with a full complement of research keys and coils.

Experimental medicine

The 3T MR scanner at the Clinical Research Facility focuses on imaging within experimental medicine. It has a comprehensive cardiac imaging package that is also used for diagnostic scanning for an NHS Trust.

Developing new methods and sequences

Researchers can apply to perform chargeable scanning on healthy volunteers in an in-house approved study to develop new methods and sequences. This enables researchers to do so without having to secure their own regulatory approvals.

This study covers the 3T MR scanner at the Clinical Research Facility and the PET-MR scanner at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. It will soon also cover the 3T MR scanner at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust.

MR imaging grants

There is a biannual call for proposals for University staff to apply for 20 hours of free MR scanning to develop pilot data for new grant applications. This is particularly important for early career researchers in imaging.


Technologies and equipment

Based across Greater Manchester, our vast array of preclinical and clinical imaging equipment is available for use by researchers.

Clinical equipment


We own and operate Philips 3T Achieva MR scanners, located at the NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility.

We also have dedicated time on a new Philips Elition 3T scanner located at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust (Salford). The University’s scanning sessions are operated by our radiographers.

The University’s MR scanners offer a broad range of MR techniques, including:

  • Structural MRI
  • Cardiac imaging
  • 32 channel head coil
  • [23Na] head coil
  • Small joint coils and dedicated musculo-skeletal coils for knee, foot and shoulder
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Eye-tracker
  • Dynamic contrast enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI)
  • Oxygen-enhanced MRI (OE-MRI)
  • Pharmacological MRI (pMRI)
  • Diffusion and perfusion MRI
  • State of the art cardiac MRI
  • Arterial spin labelling (ASL)
  • Carbon-13 imaging


The University was awarded £5.3 million from the Dementias Platform UK initiative via the Medical Research Council to buy and install the north-west’s first PET-MR scanner, which is primarily used for dementia-based research.

The scanner is located in a dedicated suite on the ground floor of St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, and is one of only eight in the UK.

The suite has three treatment rooms, two of which have:

  • bedhead services;
  • a research office;
  • a consulting room;
  • a fully-equipped dispensing room for drawing up radiotracers, with grade A laminar air flow cabinets.

The scanner is a fully integrated 3T PET-MR system with time of flight technology and a 60cm single bore. The system is capable of simultaneous PET-MR in the same field of view at the same time. The images are presented as co-localised datasets.

As well as simultaneous PET-MR scanning, the scanner can also be used for stand-alone MR scanning (3T).

The scanner can be used for a variety of imaging needs, including oncology, neurology, and cardiology, and supports imaging for brain/spine, musculoskeletal, breast, vascular, and whole body imaging.

We also offer fMRI and multi-nuclear imaging at this site.

Preclinical equipment


Preclinical PET imaging is based at WMIC. We have a Siemens Inveon Multimodality PET-CT scanner, which uses a range of commercial radiotracers.


The 7T MRI scanner is a Bruker Avance III console interfaced to a 7T, 16cm internal bore Magnex magnet. It is equipped with:

  • 740mTm-1 gradients
  • a range of RF coils
  • physiological monitoring
  • an anaesthetic delivery system.

It is located in the Stopford Building on the University’s main Oxford Road campus.

We also have a 3T MRI scanner in WMIC. This is a benchtop system (MRS 3000 Series MRI System, MR Solutions, UK) and is equipped with:

  • mouse and rat head and volume coils
  • physiological monitoring
  • an anaesthetic delivery system.

The animal bed (Minerve Small Animal Environment System Bioscan, France) is interchangeable between the 3T MRI scanner and the PET-CT scanner, allowing PET and MRI scans sequentially on the same animal and excellent co-registration.

Image-guided radiotherapy

Image-guided micro-irradiation for studies is provided via the SARRP research platform (Xstrahl) in WMIC, which incorporates CT imaging with precise radiation delivery to anatomical sites, mimicking facilities used in the clinic.

PET ccan of body anterior posterior view.

Publications and outputs

Manchester's Imaging Facilities have been instrumental in research leading to top-class outputs. Here is a small selection of key publications we have contributed to.

A patient entering an MRI scanner.

External access

Although primarily focused on supporting research at The University of Manchester, we also support work from other academic institutions and industry, including clinical trials.

We have extensive experience in scanning for a range of research studies and clinical trials across multiple disease areas. All our operational staff are GCP-certified, and we have comprehensive Quality Management System supporting all internal and external imaging work.

For more information, please contact:

Denise Ogden


Contact us

Get in touch if you require any further information, or would like to inquire about using our facility.

Denise Ogden (Senior Business Operations Manager)

Tel: +44 (0)161 275 0017


The University of Manchester
Oxford Road
M13 9PT

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