Biomedical Imaging Technology Center

Policies and Procedures for 9.4T small animal MRI scanner

MR projects at the 9.4T of BITC are defined in four categories: (i) maintenance; (ii) funded projects; (iii) pilot projects; (iv) technical development. This document is to define and standardize these projects ensuring openness, fairness, and ethics.
BASIC POLICY
MAINTENANCE PROJECTS
FUNDED PROJECTS
PILOT PROJECTS
TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS

Please read the following, and submit the short form at the bottom of this page.



BASIC POLICY
  1. The Principle Investigator (PI) and his/her group member are ultimately responsible for the well-being of their animals during the procedures performed in the MR suite located in Room L05 at the Whitehead Biomedical Research Building (WBRB).
  2. “The operation of the MR scanner” in the four categories is defined as:
    (a) Software controlled scanner activities, including MR scans, electronics, and console boot, reboot, and shutdown;
    (b) Power on/off of part or entire MR scanner system;
    (c) Dissembling, assembling, and replacing of any mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, and optical parts of the MR scanner;
    (d) Other activities in the MR scanner suite that affects the normal operation of the scanner, including inspecting and setting up equipment, diagnosing problems, preparation of animal(s), scanning, disinfecting used equipment, documenting records, cleaning tables and the room, and any emergency response involving the MR suite.
  3. BITC 9.4T MR project categories have the priority order of (high to low):
    (i) maintenance projects;
    (ii) funded projects and pilot projects;
    (iii) technical development projects.
    Time allocated to a lower priority project may be bounced/rescheduled if a high priority project demands the time slot.
  4. All projects should be scheduled on the BITC 9.4T calendar in advance or put on the calendar as soon as possible. Rules listed as following:
    (a) Scheduling for the 9.4T can be completed through our website www.bitc.bme.emory.edu/calendar/Calcium37.pl/9.4TSchedule or by emailing a 9.4T Scheduling Request Form to jcpark2 (AT) emory.edu with cc to bitc (AT) bme.gatech.edu.
    (b) When scheduling time via the BITC website, the PI and/or his/her group member should include the PI’s name, the project title, and BITC protocol number, and select an appropriate scheduling category. The scheduled time that does not contain this information will be deleted.
    (c) Experimental preparation and finalization should be included in the scheduled time block. That is, calendar time should reflect expected need for access to scanner facility and/or BITC staff.
    (d) Requests for cancellation must be received at least 24-hours prior (excluding weekends and university observed holidays) to the scheduled scan time and submitted on a 9.4T Scheduling Request Form. All forms should be emailed to jcpark2 (AT) emory.edu with cc to bitc (AT) bme.gatech.edu. Requests that are received less than 24-hours prior to the scheduled scan time will be considered as a late cancellation. Verbal cancellations will not be accepted. A confirmation email will be sent confirming all cancellations.
    (e) Walk-in scheduling is acceptable and follows the general priority rule. However, the event has to be put on the 9.4T calendar prior to the start of procedures. Walk-in event should not cause delay of any on-going pre-scheduled event with equal or higher projects.
  5. It is mandatory that the person who is responsible for the project should appropriately sign in and sign out the 9.4T log book and the check-out-list book located in the MR control area. Sessions that have not been logged, Dr. Park or other BITC staff will log and/or correct the time and the duration, and will be deemed as the accurate record. Disputes/concerns regarding time(s) logged in the logbook must be addressed with the Dr. Park or Katrina within 48 hours after the session by email. Changes/adjustments to logged time(s) will not be made after 48-hours have passed.
  6. Billing for the 9.4T is completed at the beginning of each month, for the previous month (Ex.: billing for June is completed in July). The 9.4T Calendar and 9.4T log are used to determine time to be billed. Time for the 9.4T is billed in 15 minutes increments and rounded to the nearest 15 minutes. BILLING PROCEDURES:
    (a) Start Time: In determining the "start time" to be billed, the start time that is scheduled on the 9.4T calendar will have precedence.
    EXCEPT
    When the logbook start time is prior to the calendar start time. (Ex.: Calendar Start Time - 1:30 pm; Logbook Start Time - 1:15 pm, 1:15pm will be billed as the Start Time).
    (b) End Time: In determining the "end time" to be billed, the end time that is scheduled on the 9.4T calendar will have precedence.
    EXCEPT
    When the logbook end time is after the calendar end time. (Ex.: Calendar End Time - 1:30 pm; Logbook End Time - 2:00 pm, 2:00 pm will be billed as the End Time).
  7. BITC will provide trained personnel to operate the scanner. BITC will allow approved individuals from the PI's group to operate the scanner for appropriate projects. Approved individuals must be trained on MR safety, the 9.4T regulations, and the operation of equipment at minimum by BITC staff, and approved by the director of BITC.
  8. BITC is responsible to enforce all MR, IACUC and EHSO safety regulations in the MR suite. All projects must conform to all other BITC policy guidelines and all necessary safety training of involved personnel.
  9. In case of an incident, each user is responsible for the incident. Adverse/unexpected outcome or failure must be documented in the notes section of the 9.4T Log book.
  10. In a case that adverse risks arise or are observed, a demonstration of the study will be requested. Non compliance to such requests will result in the session/study being aborted. After three warnings, the user will be sanctioned. The sanction will include, but not limited to denied entry to the MR suite for three weeks and approval by the BITC director for renewal of permissions.
  11. Image data acquired with standard sequences will be archived on the console computer for six months. Data on the console computer are backed up on the BITC data server nightly. PIs are responsible for transferring data to their labs and maintaining their own backups. To assist with emergencies, BITC will do everything possible to assist labs in recovering lost data, but BITC does not guarantee nor take responsibility for data that were acquired more than one month ago.
MAINTENANCE PROJECTS
  1. Maintenance projects are initiated only by BITC staffs when
    (a) the MR scanner experiences technical difficulties that prevent scans to be carried out normally, or generate extra risks to research personnel and animals, or introduce intolerable image noise or distortions;
    (b) a scheduled hardware/software installation/upgrade, or undergo preventive maintenance with an external vendor;
    (c) a scheduled site inspection mandated by the supervising entities of BITC.
  2. Technical difficulty induced Maintenance Projects are based upon the facts, no approval needed. If bouncing of the existing schedule is to be induced by Maintenance projects, negotiation with the affected PI is expected. Subcategory (c) maintenance projects require written (may be through email) approval of BITC director.
  3. Maintenance projects have the highest priority and are not negotiable by other projects. BITC will do its best to schedule maintenance projects without causing funded and pilot projects to be rescheduled. However, especially when a case rises unexpectedly, all other projects with overlapping scheduled time will be cancelled without advanced notice.
  4. BITC will contact the research coordinates as soon as possible by phone or email when a mandatory cancellation is enforced by a Maintenance Project. BITC takes no financial liability to the cancelled projects caused by time conflict with a maintenance project.
  5. Maintenance projects are scheduled on BITC 9.4T calendar as DARK BLUE events. A short note will be put on the event to define its purpose. Only BITC personnel are authorized to schedule and reschedule such events. BITC reserves the right to schedule such time without prior notice and/or approval of the PI when it may infringe on his/her scheduled time.
  6. If such events cause cancellation of other scheduled projects, addition to logging the event in the 9.4T log book, a public notice about the facts will be posted on the BITC web site at http://bitc.bme.emory.edu under the BITC News tab.
  7. In the event Maintenance requires scheduled project to be cancelled, BITC will contact the appropriate PI and/or study personnel of the affected project(s). However, BITC takes no financial responsibility for loss associated with the lost of subjects, rescheduling, or other resulting financial damages. All bounced or interrupted projects by Maintenance, including those that are halfway done and obtained partial useful data, will not be billed.
  8. The data generated in Maintenance should only be used for quality assurance purpose, and should not be used in research papers or as preliminary data for grant application without approval of the BITC Imaging Research Committee.
FUNDED PROJECTS
  1. Funded projects are projects that are sponsored by a research funding.
  2. The procedure of funded project’s application is below:
    (a) A completed application for research time should be emailed to: bitc (AT) bme.gatech.edu.
    (b) Applications must include the following attachments (required by the Office of Internal Audit):
      i. A copy of the funding grant face page with Grant Number, and Budget Pages. Salary information can be deleted.
      ii. A copy of the appropriate IACUC approval letter.
    (c) An application must be filled out for each/all projects. Funded projects are required to complete page one (1) of the application. An application can be downloaded at http://bitc.bme.emory.edu/forms/BITC_9.4T_APPLICATION.doc
    (d) Applications for funded projects will be approved, providing there are funds to cover the charges, it has the IACUC approval, and it passes a technical feasibility review by BITC. Please allow three (3) business days to process your application(s).
    (e) Once the project is approved, the PI will be issued a user name, password, and BITC protocol number. The issued user name and password is for the PI and his/her member to schedule time on the 9.4T via our website www.bitc.bme.emory.edu/calendar/Calcium37.pl/9.4TSchedule
  3. Funded projects are scheduled on BITC 9.4T calendar as GREEN events. The PI of an approved Funded Project will be assigned an account to access our online self-serve calendar at http://bitc.bme.emory.edu/calendar/Calcium37.pl/9.4T_Schedule. The PI and/or his/her associate can access this calendar for viewing existing events and create new events. New events cannot overlap with existing events except for space-takers for late cancelled events. All general scheduling policies apply. Online scheduling should be used by projects that have been issued a BITC Protocol Number beginning with the letters "FP" or “PP”. Requesting time overlapping with Pilot or Technical Development Projects has to be done by emailing a 9.4T Scheduling Request Form to jcpark2 (AT) emory.edu with cc to bitc (AT) bme.gatech.edu. In the event of unsuccessful scanning or "bad data" due to BITC equipment malfunctions or BITC personnel operation error during experiments, make-up time will be allotted for a future scan. Make-up time will only be allotted when the cause of unsuccessful scanning is due to BITC equipment or personnel based on the noted log on the 9.4T log book.
    Without properly logged notes, make-up is not negotiable. Make-up time will be commensurate with time lost. All such cases must be reported within 72-hours, in writing, and sent via email to jcpark2 (AT) emory.edu with cc to bitc (AT) bme.gatech.edu. Make-up time must be approved and scheduled through the BITC office. Make-ups for FP are scheduled on BITC 9.4T calendar as ORANGE events.
    Walk-in scheduling should respect the pre-scheduled Funded Projects (all three categories) by avoiding delay into the upcoming schedules. The session has to be put on the 9.4T calendar prior to the start of procedures, and the user must be authorized to log in.
  4. The PI or his/her member must review the log content written by the assistant BITC staff before signing the 9.4T log book. Also, individuals using the scanner must sign in and sign out the log book. Any incidence that may induce auditing, for example,
    (a) Technical difficulties induced overtime and/or image quality issue;
    (b) Late arrival induced overtime;
    (c) Previous scan late termination induced late starting;
    (d) Subject set up difficulties induced overtime;
    This information will be used for negotiating make-up scans and/or reduced charges.
  5. Funded Projects are billed by the SOM Core approved rate. Rates are posted by the SOM CORE http://corelabs.emory.edu/labs/biomedical_center/rates.html. Make-up projects are considered paid if the corresponding time slot has been billed and paid. Overdue bills will revoke the right of scheduling new time slots and void the existing scheduled time slots.
  6. Data are accessible via ssh for Emory IPs on the scanner console immediately after the scan, or for elsewhere on the BITC data server the next day, via the credential of the PI’s login to these computers. Special data delivery requirements, for example, archiving to a user indicated data service, shipping of data CD/DVD, stripping of local archived data, should be documented in the approved project application. BITC will fulfill documented data storage requirements free of charge.
  7. BITC is entitled to obtain publication record for all peer review publications that utilized data acquired from BITC, whether direct or indirect. BITC should be acknowledged in peer reviewed publications that utilized data acquired from BITC, unless otherwise documented in the approved project application. BITC personnel is listed as authors if collaboration other than paid data acquisition and data storage services is established, including data analysis, technical development, and data explanation assistance.
PILOT PROJECTS
  1. Pilot Projects are approved by the BITC Imaging Research Committee to
    (a) Testing ideas for prospective funded projects
    (b) Gather pilot data for grant application
    (c) Final validation of protocol/procedures of a new funded project
  2. Applications for pilot project time should be submitted electronically using the downloadable application form www.bitc.bme.emory.edu. Pages one and two of the application are required to be completed. Applications must be submitted four (4) weeks prior to the intended start date. For a case of an animal project, the applicant must include a copy of the IACUC approval letter. Once received, applications will be sent to the members of the BITC Imaging Research Committee for electronic review. Two weeks are allotted for the committee review. A technical screening will also be conducted by BITC personnel. A decision will be made based on the committee review and MR time availability, and emailed to the applicant.
  3. BITC will do its best to work through the approved procedures of a Pilot Project within the allocated time slot. However, BITC takes no liability for the induced cost to the PIs of Pilot Projects in case
    (a) The allocated time slot is claimed by a higher priority project;
    (b) The expected procedure cannot be accomplished at the end of the allocated time slot;
    (c) The data quality does not satisfy the expectation of the PI for both technical reasons, experimental plan reasons, or human error or subject collaboration reasons;
  4. Pilot projects are scheduled on BITC 9.4T calendar as LIGHT BLUE events. Pilot Projects will be funded based on their relevant merits and only a small fraction of applications will be funded. Investigators may apply for Pilot Project time by completing a 9.4T Application (www.bitc.bme.emory.edu). If approved, costs associated with the approved usage will require a 50/50 cost share between the PI and BITC.
    If the PI already has other active Funded Projects with BITC, it is allowed for them to schedule Pilot time slot through their online calendar access based on the time frame agreement in an approved Pilot Project application.
    If the PI does not have online BITC 9.4T calendar access, the scheduling has to be done through our 9.4T Scheduling Request form that can be found at www.bitc.bme.emory.edu. Walk-in scheduling is not recommended unless the PI has other active Funded Projects with BITC and can add new event on the BITC 9.4T calendar on–site.
  5. Logging of Pilot Projects should follow the same guidelines as Funded Projects, given this information is only kept as record, but not negotiable for make-up time or reduced charges.
  6. Costs for approved hours will be shared evenly between BITC and the PI. (Please see http://med.emory.edu/main/research/core_labs/biomedical_center/rates.html for current rates). Approved time will be valid during the fiscal year in which it is granted. Unused time will not carry-forward into the next fiscal year. Overdue bills will revoke the right of scheduling new time slots and void the existing scheduled time slots.
  7. Data are accessible via ssh for Emory IPs on the scanner console immediately after the scan, or for elsewhere on the BITC data server the next day, via the credential of the PI’s login to these computers. Pilot Project data may be utilized in publications combined with corresponding Funded Project data. Pilot Project data are not supposed to be sole MR data appeared in publications. BITC’s right to Pilot Data utilized in publications are the same with the Funded Project data.
TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
  1. Technical Development Projects are projects that are sponsored either solely by BITC operation budget or by collaboration between BITC and beneficial research groups. It has three sub-categories:
    (a) Testing of new hardware of software with the MR scanner, including coils, sequences, accessories, acquired or developed by BITC its collaborative groups;
    (b) Create, develop, validate, or refine research protocols for a candidate funded project or funded project application;
    (c) Evaluating and diagnosis scanner performance (image quality, noise, artifacts, ghosting) per request of PIs of funded projects or FP applications.
    Technical Development Projects will be funded based on their relevant merits to either (i) expanding or enhancing BITC core services, or (ii) potential implementation in funded BITC core studies;
  2. Applications for Technical Development Projects time should be submitted electronically using the downloadable application form www.bitc.bme.emory.edu. Pages one and two of the application are required to be completed. Applications must be submitted four (4) weeks prior to the intended start date. For a case of an animal project, the applicant must include a copy of the IACUC approval letter. Once received, applications will be sent to the members of the BITC Imaging Research Committee for electronic review. Two weeks are allotted for the committee review. A technical screening will also be conducted by BITC personnel. A decision will be made based on the committee review and MR time availability, and emailed to the applicant.
  3. BITC will assign a qualified personnel to assist the coordinators of an approved Technical Development Project to work toward its goal while ensure the safety of the procedures. However, no warrant to the outcome from BITC.
  4. Technical Development projects are scheduled on BITC 9.4T calendar as Yellow events. Scheduling of Technical Development Project studies must be done by authorized BITC personnel or an authorized PI and/or his/her group member using the BITC 9.4T calendar. A minimum guideline of 24 hours prior to the scheduled hour is recommended. Additionally, Technical Development Project studies should preferentially be scheduled at less busy core service hours, e.g., early or late in the day.
    Walk-in event should be on-site added on the BITC 9.4T calendar, and should not cause delay of any on-going pre-scheduled event with equal or higher priority.
    If the procedure of the Technical Development Project has risks of disabling the MR scanner or unexpectedly disrupt the on-going procedures, it should always be scheduled as the last event of the day.
  5. The assistant BITC stuff and the PI’s coordinate must appropriately sign in and sign out 9.4T log book. The logging is kept for counting the quota of a Technical Development Project.
  6. The procedures performed should not go beyond the approved Technical Development Project application.
  7. Technical Development Projects are performed at no cost to the Investigator. Technical Development Projects may typically include fewer than 5 sessions. If more sessions are needed, payment should be negotiated with BITC director.
  8. BITC principally does not archive data generated in Technical Development Projects unless agreed in approved Technical Development Projects application. Data generated from Technical Development Projects should not be specifically and solely used in research papers or as preliminary data for grant application.


NOTE: Please call 2-2618 if clarification of any policy item is needed.




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