We just found out that our R03 grant application for high-resolution BOLD fMRI at 7T has been recommended for funding. We have been anxiously waiting for the funding decision which was delayed by the government shutdown last year. Better late than never!
This pilot project will allow us to figure out the best way to achieve high resolution (1×1 mm in-plane) EPI in the medial temporal lobe without sacrificing too much SNR. The challenges here are manifold. Small voxels are SNR-starved, particularly in the MTL, and 7T introduces a boatload of spatial distortion. We have been acquiring some techdev scans over the past year and a half (see an example of raw EPI data below; arrow points to hippocampus showing how the tissue layers are resolved), and we are cautiously optimistic that acceptable signal quality can be achieved. Now we can go full throttle to systematically test various acquisition and analysis strategies to get the best possible data.