Help, I'm new! How do I start a study?

1. Complete the Protocol Initiation Form (PIF).

2. All PIs and intended MRI users must complete MRI Safety Training and MRI Operator Training by contacting Jerry Sonico (

3. Work with Costin Tanase ( to find available pulse sequences and develop your protocol.

4. Contact Dennis Thompson ( for any programming needs.

5. Apply to the Pilot Program by contacting Jessica Hicks (

6. Gain access to the IRC Calendar and your MRI data by contacting Scott Martin (

I'm scanning over the weekend, and there is a technical issue. Who do I contact?

For any issues after hours, please contact Costin Tanase at (412) 362-0484.

How do I apply to the Pilot Program for my new study?

Follow the link to our Pilot Program information page. You will need to fill out the Pilot Program Application Form.

Who do I contact for information about available pulse sequences? Can I use pulse sequences from another site?

Please contact Costin Tanase, our Technical Director ( for available pulse sequences and scan protocol development.

If you are interested in using a pulse sequence from another site, please note that we get all other pulse sequences from Siemens R&D, only. Please have your PI contact Costin, who will send the request to Siemens.  Importantly, the IRC, the University Office of Research, Siemens R&D, the third party developer, and the outside institution will need to sign various forms and agreements.

What pre-processing scripts are available?

Please contact our technical director Costin Tanase (, or our programmer, Dennis Thompson (, for assistance with available scripts and other programming inquiries.

I am a MRI researcher. Where can I leave my equipment for my scans?

We ask that you please store any approved outside equipment needed for scans on site, so as to avoid accidentally bringing unapproved items into the MRI environment. Once your equipment has been approved by Jerry Sonico (, please provide your own labeled clear storage bins. The label should contain your Lab name, to avoid any confusion.

What do I do about incidental findings?

Incidental findings include any abnormal vasculature, cyst, lesion, neuroma, or any other kind of brain anomaly discovered during an MRI research scan. Per IRC policy, please do not inform your research subjects. Notify your PI and Jerry Sonico ( immediately, giving as much detail as possible regarding the type of incidental finding, such as location of the lesion. We offer free radiological reads to our colleagues, analyzed by a trained radiologist.

What if my subject has an implant?

If participants have any type of implants (i.e. orthopedic hardware, heart stents, surgery clips, electronic implants, etc.), you cannot proceed with the MRI scan until written documents from the manufacturer, stating the conditions that must be followed to safely scan the participant, have been approved by Jerry Sonico (MRI Safety Officer) or designated IRC tech support personnel.

  • If a participant has had an MRI with an implant, never assume that the participant is safe to scan. You must still have approval before scanning your participant.
  • When approval of the implant is needed, the name of the manufacture, name of the implant, model number of the implant, and physician’s operative report must be submitted to the MRI Safety Officer.
  • Always allow a minimum of seven days before your participant's appointment to receive the manufacture’s recommendation to safely scan the participant with an implant.
  • If unable to acquire written documents confirming the conditions to safely perform an MRI scan, the participant may not be allowed to participate in an MRI study.
  • Violation of this policy are grounds for immediate suspension of the research lab, and all scheduled MRI scans will be canceled until the violation has been resolved.

My patient wears reading glasses, but my task requires they read words on a projector screen. What do I do?

We currently provide MR Safe glasses at the scanners in both Sacramento and Davis. The MRI-safe glasses range from -1.00 to -7.00 diopters in strength.  They can simply be clipped onto the outside of the 32-channel head coil.

The MR Safe glasses set-up at the IRC in Davis.

How do I work most effectively with IRC Staff?

While each PI is ultimately responsible for study design, data processing and data analysis, the IRC staff is happy to help support and assist with these efforts.

If it turns out that you need individual consultation, or that you want a staff member written into a grant proposal, please reach out to our Staff members individually.