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Ohio-Based MRI Research Center and Job Creation Announced by GE HealthCare, University of Cincinnati, UC Health, Cincinnati Children’s, JobsOhio, and REDI Cincinnati

GE HealthCare, University of Cincinnati (UC), UC Health, and Cincinnati Children’s are establishing a new collaboration with the goal to accelerate MRI innovation. The collaboration intends to create a co-located MRI Research and Development (R&D) center of excellence on UC’s medical campus to foster interaction between clinical investigators and GE HealthCare scientists.

As part of this academic-industrial collaboration, GE HealthCare will receive assistance in the form of an R&D grant from JobsOhio, the state’s private economic development corporation, to support engineering and manufacturing job growth at its Aurora, OH, MRI coils facility, as well as new clinical and scientific roles at the Cincinnati R&D center of excellence facility.

“We are excited to launch a collaboration with our partners at UC, UC Health, and Cincinnati Children’s to bring technical knowledge from our GE HealthCare MR Applied Science Lab team together in the field with clinical expertise from these renowned health institutions to develop MRI methods for the next era of healthcare,” said Anja Brau, Ph.D., general manager of MR Clinical Solutions and Research Collaborations at GE HealthCare. “We find this model of ‘real world’ collaboration effective to leverage collective strengths of industry and academia and accelerate the translation from prototype to clinical reality.”

The collaboration would build upon GE HealthCare’s strong presence in Ohio, including its MRI RF coil R&D and manufacturing facility in Aurora, home to the award-winning AIR Coils that improve patient comfort, positioning flexibility, and image quality in MRI exams. With an infrastructure of excellence that includes University of Cincinnati, a Carnegie Commission Research 1 institution and a Top-35 public research university according to the National Science Foundation; UC Health, Greater Cincinnati’s adult academic health system and Level I trauma center; and Cincinnati Children’s, ranked No. 1 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023-24 listing of Best Children’s Hospitals and the second-largest recipient of NIH grants with over one-third of staff actively involved in research, the collaboration would leverage Ohio-based healthcare innovators to advance imaging technologies to benefit patients in Ohio and beyond.

“GE HealthCare’s decision to choose Ohio for its next Research center launches a research partnership that would validate the bold vision of establishing the Cincinnati Innovation District in 2020,” said JobsOhio President and CEO J.P. Nauseef. “The shared effort between GE HealthCare and the Cincinnati Innovation District collaborators would advance MRI technology, demonstrating Ohio’s leadership in improving the lives of pediatric and adult patients globally.”

Studies are intended to be conducted at the Research facility that would help to develop and validate next-generation MRI technology with the goal of 1) increasing accessibility and productivity of MRI scanners and 2) increasing precision and personalization of MRI exams. Many of the projects would build upon AIR™ Coil technology designed and manufactured in Ohio.

“We are excited to embark on a new research collaboration with GE HealthCare,” said Mary Mahoney, MD, Ben Felson chair and professor in the University of Cincinnati Department of Radiology at the College of Medicine and chief of imaging services at UC Health. “Together, we could make a profound impact on our medical center, our community and most importantly, our patients. Through our collective efforts, we would be able to push the boundaries of knowledge, discover innovative solutions, and improve the lives of those we serve. The University of Cincinnati and UC Health fully embrace this opportunity to advance imaging science and help develop and build the workforce of technologists, engineers, and scientists in health imaging for Ohio.”

The Research center on the UC campus would house GE HealthCare’s most powerful 3.0T wide-bore MRI scanner, the SIGNA Premier. This MRI platform features GE HealthCare’s innovative hardware technologies, including AIR Coils, and its latest AI software technologies, such as AIR Recon DL and Sonic DL deep-learning reconstruction applications, which can improve image quality and scan times. The scanner’s advanced suite of imaging capabilities has led to its adoption by many academic sites for imaging studies spanning neurology, oncology, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal applications in both adult and pediatric populations.

“This distinction of hosting a GE HealthCare Research center in our midst elevates the Cincinnati region, bolstering our already-leading edge innovation and research in healthcare and life sciences,” said Kimm Lauterbach, president and CEO of REDI Cincinnati. “GE HealthCare and UC Health establishing a research center amplifies the expansive ecosystem being created by the Cincinnati Innovation District and our strategic collaboration with JobsOhio, Cincinnati Children’s and the University of Cincinnati medical campus.” 

“Research is a core mission of Cincinnati Children’s department of Radiology. In terms of peer-review publications, funding, and faculty size, we are one of the highest-ranked pediatric radiology departments in the country,” Brian Coley, MD, Radiologist-in-Chief at Cincinnati Children’s says. “We maintain one of the premier imaging research teams, and a collaboration with GE HealthCare, along with their significant investment to support research, development and clinical translation of better imaging strategies, will ultimately accelerate advancements and improve pediatric care.”