Project Description

1.8.2018 – 28.2.2021



A new device for microscopic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will be acquired as a joint project between the Faculties of Health Sciences and Natural and Forestry Sciences. For the development part, it is furthermore a joint project between the University of Eastern Finland, Savonia University of Applied Sciences and the Natural Resources Institute Finland. The new device will be capable of not only medical imaging of tissue samples, but also the microscopic structure and water dynamics of small samples of different materials, such as wood products, rubbers, plants and food products etc. without harming the samples. Modern micro-MRI enables imaging of molecular level interactions, imaging of flow and 3-D diffusion at resolutions as high as 30 µm, something that is only possible with MR imaging. The project takes use of nationally unique and internationally very significant specialized knowledge centered around imaging, based in Kuopio campus. The potential of micro-MRI will be developed in the project towards applications in food and wood industry, which will be beneficial for the local companies working in the field. Besides these new applications, the methods can be utilized by the health technology operators the university already has a long history of collaboration.



In the investment project, an 11.7 tesla spectroscopic magnet, owned by the university, will be transferred to the imaging unit of A. I. Virtanen institute and will be upgraded to micro-imaging MRI device. The device integrates into the service concept of the imaging unit, but also of the SIB Labs operating at the university campus. This will ensure the utility of the device past the project. A development project integral to the investment project consists of the following steps:

    1. Setup and establishing of the device and related equipment
    2. Implementation and testing of the most important micro-imaging methods
    3. Creation of the processes for academic and commercial operators to run projects on the device through the services of either the biomedical imaging unit or the SIB Labs
    4. Testing of the device and methodology as well as the service processes in three different pilot projects in collaboration with local businesses and public institutes. The pilot projects are designed in collaboration, engaging the local businesses. The initially planned pilots include imaging of wood/paper products, rubber products and plant material, such as seeds.
    5. In the reporting and training part, presentation material of the potential of the method will be created and distributed through internet and by participating in seminars and visiting local businesses.



The new equipment strengthens the research, development and innovation core at the university campus in cost-effective way, as the acquisition costs of an imaging upgrade to an existing spectroscopic magnet are less than one-third of an entire new device. The project enables developing the knowledge on micro-MRI imaging to be used for the needs of material technology and food technology companies, significantly strengthening the innovation potential and competitiveness of the North-Savo region. Similar know-how is not easily available elsewhere in Finland.