Preparing to run your non-CBU-based imaging study at the CBU
For CBU users, please see instead CbuPreparingYourStudy.
Preparing to run your non-CBU-based imaging study at the CBU
- Access to CBU Scanner
- Local Research Ethics Committee (LREC) approval
- Debate and approval by Cambridge research community
- Logging your non-CBU-based project with the CBU scanning administrator
- Booking scanner slots
- Computer issues for running imaging studies
- Recruiting participants for non-CBU-based studies
Access to CBU Scanner
(You will need to do this well in advance of your study)
In order to have access to the MRI Facility and to be able to scan volunteers at the CBU you need to have a Panel Induction and become an MRI Certified User. Please arrange to attend a Panel Induction with the Panel Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) as you are unable to make contact with any of our volunteers until you have attended this induction. Becoming an MRI Certified User is a two stage process and involves booking yourself on 1) an MRI Video Presentation course and, 2) an MRI Practical session (please note that the courses must be attended in sequence). For further information on these courses, contact LucilleMurby. These courses will take place periodically throughout the year, and specific details will be announced in advance via the Imagers Emailing List.
Certified Users based at the CBU will have their access card updated to incorporate access to the external doors of the MRI Facility between 8.15am and 8.15pm. This allows them into Reception where they can meet their volunteers, access the internet and have use of a telephone as well as being able to access the washroom and kitchen. The radiographers will ask them to sign for a card allowing internal door access for their period of scanning which will need to be returned by the end of the day. Imagers based at other sites who attain CBU certification will be logged as Certified Guests and will be eligible for a daily access card to the above areas on each visit. This card must be handed in before exiting the MRI Facility at the end of each day. Access privileges to all types of card are updated by LucilleMurby and any CBU users needing to query their access status should contact Lucille. Temporary cards (for periods when you are scanning) are available from the radiographers.
Please ensure that the OPEN sign on the outer door is visible before you attempt to access the MRI Facility. At the present time the building alarm and the access system are not co-ordinated so you will activate the alrm if you enter when the CLOSED sign is visible.
Before scanning, imagers should familiarise themselves with the CBU Standard Operating Procedures. This is available online for authorized wiki users (see UsingThisWiki) at StandardOperatingProcedure.
Local Research Ethics Committee (LREC) approval
(absolute minimum 2 months before scanning)
In order to be allocated slots on the CBU scanner, you need official ethics approval either from the Cambridge Local Research Ethics Committee (LREC) or another LREC within the region. Applications to Cambridge are likely to be processed more smoothly than applications elsewhere as the Cambridge Committee are aware of, and have formerly approved, our Standard Operating Procedures. However, the Cambridge LREC can only review a relatively small number of applications per month and they are usually over subscribed several months in advance. Therefore, we recommend that you contact the Cambridge LREC in order to book a slot on their agenda as early as you possibly can. If they do not have a slot within a reasonable time frame they can advise you which Committee does have slots available and provide you with contact details.
It is possible that someone in your research group has already acquired LREC permission for your study and to run your experiment you only need to become an additional named investigator on that application. This is now usually done via the Principal Investigator contacting LucilleMurby with an instruction to add you to their protocol (no contact with LREC is normally required). If your study is not included on an existing protocol then you need to submit a full application, which is a substantial document available online at the Central Office for Research Ethics Committees (COREC). For more details about what is involved, contact someone who has recently submitted a protocol in your group, or contact LucilleMurby. There are standard forms available (already approved by LREC) that will need to be included in your application and you can find these at http://imaging.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/mri/InternalAdmin and please follow the instructions there carefully. Only these standard forms will be acceptable for use within the MRI Facility. Please contact LucilleMurby for more information.
Debate and approval by Cambridge research community
We encourage everyone planning a study at the CBU to present present your proposal for scientific and methodological debate at the ImagersInterestGroup meeting (IIG), which meets on Monday afternoons at 12:30, normally in the CBU lecture theatre. Contact RikHenson for details and request for a slot to give your presentation. To see further information about the imagers meeting, with a link to the current scheule, please visit the ImagersInterestGroup page.
Logging your non-CBU-based project with the CBU scanning administrator
You should do this after receiving LREC approval and as early as you can before scanning)
On receipt of LREC approval you need to let our scanning administrator - LucilleMurby - know of your project and your LREC approval. Please contact her for more details.
Booking scanner slots
(normally one month or more before scanning)
Once you have attained MRI user certification, had a Panel Induction, received LREC approval (or been added as a user to someone else's approval), had your project reviewed by the Cambridge community, logged your project with LucilleMurby and received approval for scanning from the IMC then you are ready to book slots on the scanner. The CBU scanning schedule is available online at http://imaging.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/scanbooker/ via the web browser Mozilla Firefox. Take a look at the schedule then arrange to meet with Lucille Murby to discuss the allocation of available slots. Please remember that just because the scanning time appears to be available, it does not necessarily mean you can have it. Lucille allocates slots according to the current demands on scanner time from the Unit as a whole.
Computer issues for running imaging studies
Subscribing to mailing lists
(as early as possible). In order to get information about talks, current computer and scanner problems, changes in CBU Scanner setup, etc. you need to subscribe to the following mailing lists: ImagersCbuList (for CBU staff only), ImagersTechList (any technical imaging information relating to SPM, scanner issues, methods talks, etc.), and ImagersList (general Cambridge imaging mailing list). Contact Sian Miller for more details and to subscribe.
Thoroughly test your experimental program
Testing program at CBU
(at least a week before scanning). There is a replica of the CBU MRI stimulus delivery computer in the public computer area of the main Unit, labeled CBU Mimic. This is used exclusively to test programs for compatibility and to make sure they will not crash during an fMRI study. You should make full use of this before starting your study. CBU users can book the CBU Mimic on the Resource Scheduler. If you are outside the CBU, please contact CBU reception to ask them to book the machine for you.
Please note that there is currently no guarantee that the CBU mimic will do any kind of a job at replicating the setup in the WBIC - so if you are planning a study at the WBIC, please use the WBIC mimic machine instead - based at Addenbrookes.
For details about how to simulate scanner pulses, or other issues relating to the CBU Mimic, contact the technical support staff. Note, that should you require any programs to be installed that are not already available, you should ask Gary Chandler to install this for you, rather than doing it yourself.
At this point you should mention any non-standard equipment or paradigms to radiographers, in case these need to be approved for the scanner, or the paradigms require the presence of a physicist to run them (this is not necessary for standard protocols). Contact the radiographers with these details.
Piloting your program on the CBU Scanner
(at least a few days before scanning). It is also highly recommended that you book some time at the CBU Scanner to install and test your program onsite. You should contact LucilleMurby about booking a 15 minute pilot slot, and to request whether you need the radiographers to generate any scanner pulses. Note that it is possible to generate simulated pulses, via the panel in the computer cupboard in the corner. There are three stimulus PCs permanently available in the scanner room. You should ask the radiographers about how to switch between PCs if this is unclear. Be sure to fully test your program, including its interaction with scanner pulses and with the button box if required, as well as the correct presentation of stimuli. For more information on stimulus presentation in the CBU scanner, visit CbuStimulusDelivery. Remember to install your program and store your data on the D drive, as the C drive is wiped and refreshed every month with a new image. This is also a good time to tell the radiographers who you are, what slots you will be scanning with whom, and under what CBU Scanner protocol number. In addition, you should mention any non-standard equipment or paradigms, in case these need to be approved for the scanner, or the paradigms require the presence of a physicist to run them (this is not necessary for standard protocols). If any problems are unable to be resolved during the pilot session/s then the main scanning slots (if booked at this point) need to be reviewed and possibly re-allocated.
Recruiting participants for non-CBU-based studies
The CBU has its own booking system - for those with CBU wiki permissions, please see CbuRecruitVolunteers.
For those outside the CBU, who cannot use the CBU system, here are some hints for things we have found useful. We welcome any edits from groups outside to explain procedures in your own labs.
There are various resources including a map to the CBU imaging facility on the MRI facility volunteer page.
There are subjects screening forms and other useful information on the MRI facility internal pages by LucilleMurby. These are only available for people with CBU logins at the moment, but we hope make some of the documents more generally available quite soon.
Telephone screening and booking
Volunteers may well be booked by telephone. Prior to booking any volunteers, have a look at the Structured Phone Questionnaire as well as any payment rates and the scanning slots that you have available. Make sure the volunteer is fully aware who you are, what the study involves and has the opportunity to ask questions, in case they feel they would not like to take part. Please ensure that your contact with volunteers is always in line with data protection guidelines. Do not take volunteer lists home and always ensure that correspondence with volunteers is confidential.
The volunteer will be screened for metal on arrival but it is critical that you try to eliminate all unsuitable volunteers at the outset otherwise your scanning slot could be lost. Note any contraindications and you may want to send any relevant feedback to whoever manages your volunteers. Researchers should also check with each volunteer that is booked that they are not already booked in for another fMRI study within the same fortnightly period. The CBU guidelines are that no volunteer can be scanned more than once every 14 days. Please remember that volunteers are asked to arrive at least 30 minutes before the scan start time to allow adequate time for the paperwork to be filled in, the task instructions to be explained and some overall contingency time for unplanned delays (you may want to extend this if you have specific extended tasks for them to complete prior to the scan; ask colleagues or the radiographers if you are unsure of how much time to allow. If this is a first scan with us, the volunteer should be asked to bring their GP's details to the appointment so this can be incorporated into their records.
You may well want to send a Confirmation Email to each volunteer booked which contains the link to the CBU imaging website so that the volunteer has a chance to read more about what we do and obtain our site map. Please blind copy this email to radiographers (please do not standard copy as we do not want these volunteers to contact the radiographers direct). Please also send the radiographers a summary of your booked slots at least three working days prior to scanning (containing the full volunteer name, contact numbers on the day and an email address if applicable). Please also forward this summary to anyone working with you on the project and to anyone that you will have working with you on your scan days. Radiographers will inform CBU Reception about the bookings.
Once your volunteers are booked and you are happy that they are suitable for your project, you will need to establish a rapport with them. This will help to stress the value of their assistance in our investigations and help to ensure that they turn up for their appointment. You will also need to send them a copy of the Volunteer Information Sheet (as submitted to LREC for ethical approval of your study). This should be done as soon as possible after booking them so that they have ample time to read the information. Please remember that your ethical protocol may stipulate how long volunteers are given to read the document so ensure that you allow the time documented. If you have booked the volunteers yourself then you may want to attach this document to your confirmation email; otherwise we suggest that you could send it once to all of your volunteers (put your address in the To section so you can check it arrives and put all the volunteer email addresses in the Bcc box so that the list of names is not visible to the recipients - in line with CBU data protection guidelines). Radiographers will inform CBU Reception about the appointment so there is no need for the researcher to do this.
(1-2 days before scanning). In order to ensure as far as possible that the volunteer will turn up for their appointment, please remind them a day or two before they are due to be scanned, and inform them that they should contact you if they have any problems in keeping their appointment as our scan time is very valuable and we may be able to find someone else to fill their slot. This is to minimise the (not infrequent) situation where participants do not turn up for slots without informing you, which inconveniences the whole team and may mean that the completion of your study is significantly delayed (if replacement slots can not be found quickly).
Exchange Contact numbers
Make certain that the volunteer knows how to contact the CBU Imaging Facility should they need to on the day and attempt to secure a mobile phone number for the volunteer that you can contact them when they are on the move in case you need to cancel at the last minute or they unexpectedly do not turn up.
Confirm Arrival Procedures
The volunteer will need to be informed of the specific arrival procedures - all volunteers need to sign in at Unit Reception (if their arrival time is out of office hours then you must ensure that you or a colleague is there to meet them). During working hours volunteers can be directed through the South Wing corridor to the Imaging Facility. Out of hours, they will need to be escorted around the outside of the South Wing. (Please remember that all doors in the Main Unit are alarmed out of hours and can only be opened from the inside as a fire escape route).
Recruit backup volunteers
The CBU procedure, which we have found very useful, is to have a back-up volunteer available for each scanning slot. A back-up can be on stand-by for a morning or an afternoon (or both if they are not used in the morning). It is not unusual for volunteers to cancel at the last minute or just not arrive for their slot so it is in your interests to make sure you have back-ups organised. This will ensure that there are no unnecessary interruptions in your scanning.