Research Procedures

Standard Operating Procedures
  • Safety
    • Lab safety (biosafety) - Any faculty, staff or students working with biohazardous materials must be in compliance with all Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) procedures. For application and information regarding IBC go to
    • Radiation Materials - Any faculty, staff or students proposing to use radioactive materials must have the proposal reviewed and approved by the Radiological, Chemical and Laboratory Safety Committee. The University’s Radiological, Chemical, and Laboratory Safety, Policy and Procedures Statement must be advised when using radioactive materials. For application and information on radiological safety procedures go to
    • Hazardous waste - Hazardous waste must be disposed of properly following the guidelines instituted by the Office of Regulatory Compliance and Safety. For questions and more information on hazardous wastes and guidelines go to
  • MSU MRI Facility Safety

    Location: 1207 Hwy 182 W, Starkville, MS 39759

    • MR Screening - The MRI system has a very strong magnetic field that may present potential hazards to individuals entering the MR environment or MR system room; especially individuals that have certain metallic, electronic, magnetic or mechanical implants, devices, or objects on or in their person. ALL researchers, staff, students, and any other individual involved with research activities are required to complete a screening form to be evaluated by our technologist prior to entering the MR environment or system room.
    • MR Safety Training - Because of the hazards of conducting research in a facility with high-powered imaging equipment, I²AT has strict safety requirements of all researchers and clinicians using the medical equipment. Researchers and clinicians using the MRI must view an MRI safety video before accessing the MRI. If anyone arrives for an MR procedure and has not completed the safety requirements, they must remain in the waiting area. Anyone trying to enter the MR area without safety certification will be asked to leave.
    • MR Area procedures– Only approved equipment can be taken into the MRI room. Under no circumstances will anyone be allowed to take equipment into the room. No one will be allowed to enter the MRI room with any metal object in their possession. All metal objects will be placed in the container provided by the I²AT staff assistant or technologist prior to entering the MRI room or a secure hallway.
    • Special/Emergency Circumstances- Investigators will notify I²AT and/or MSU of serious or unexpected adverse reactions immediately after the knowledge of event. Investigators will terminate session or experiment immediately, at any time, or at the request of the subject, and will not attempt to pressure or coerce the subject to continue.
  • Shared Facility Policies

    I²AT is located in a shared facility with Veterinary Neurology & Imaging and Premier Imaging. Because of the diversity of activities at the MSU MRI Facility, researchers and I²AT users must remain cognizant of others in the facility. The PI or their representative must be present during all scheduled times and the research technologist will be in place to make sure that procedures go smoothly and human research subjects and animal subjects do not cross paths. All making use of the MSU MRI Facility MUST follow the direction of the PI or their representative and MR technologist at all times.

    All doors should be closed during and after procedures. This includes the MRI door, the Research Console door, and all hallways doors between the MRI main entrance and the back door. All researchers are required to enter and exit through the back door. Under no circumstances should a researcher exit the front main entrance after normal business hours.

  • Keys

    I²AT allows researchers working at any I²AT managed facility to check out keys as needed with the following conditions:

    1. The researcher must sign a key form which must be renewed on an annual basis. Renewal process includes bringing ALL keys, including MSU MRI Facility Key Cards to the I²AT office for examination and renewal by I²AT Staff.
    2. Once the researcher’s period of employment or association with I²AT has ended, the keys must be returned within 7 days. Failure to return the keys will result in a $35 penalty fee charged directly to the researchers MSU account or invoiced to non-MSU researchers.
    • Key-card Access to MSU MRI Facility: Because of the diverse research and clinical activities taking place at the MSU MRI Facility, access to the facility will be liminted to those faculty, staff and graduate students who are actively running experiments requiring MSU MRI Facility access. Other circumstances will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Electronic key cards are given to staff and graduate students when requested by the faculty researcher/PI who is listed as the awardee of the grant.
    • PI/Faculty Researcher Lab Keys: PI lab keys are given to other faculty, staff and graduate student researchers when requested by the PI of that lab. A set of common keys (i.e. keys needed for shared spaces) may be checked out to the PI/faculty researcher to keep in his/her lab. Graduate students will have access to these keys with their primary lab key.
    • Key Access to the Clay-Lyle Facility: Keys may be checked out for after-hours access to the Clay Lyle facility. Key check out is granted only after I²AT Staff is confident in the researchers abilities to run instrumentation independently and safely. These procedures have been set in place to increase the safety of all individuals working at I²AT as well as alleviate costs associated with purchasing replacement door locks and keys.
Current Research Projects
  • The research at I²AT covers a broad range of topics. Instrumentation includes technologies for diverse microscopy (light, confocal, atomic force, and electron) and microanalysis (e.g. X-ray diffraction) applications, in addition to magnetic resonance imaging used in areas of veterinary medicine, cognitive science, and medical systems. The range of instrumentation found at I²AT allows the institute to cater to many researchers’ needs while fostering interdisciplinary projects.
  • There are many projects which utilize the microscopy and microanalysis portion of I²AT which are not listed below. To learn more about I²AT's current research projects, call our office at (662) 325-3019.

    • HCC Depth Perception in Augmented Reality, National Science Foundation - John Edward Swan
    • Biologically-based Training for Adaptive Multitasking Strategies, Office of Naval Research - Stephanie Doane; Robert Moss
    • Advanced Naval Power Systems through Electric Ship Systems Research and Development, Florida State University, Office of Naval Research – Stephanie Doane
    • Human Systems Integration for Power Systems, University of South Carolina, Office of Naval Research, Stephanie Doane
    • Morphology and and ultrastructure of the chorion of Cimex lectularius,the bedbug,(Hemiptera:Cimicidae), Gerry Baker
    • Fire ant tarsal sensilla (Hymenoptera:Formicidae), Gerry Baker
    • Sensilla on the antennae and mouthparts of two tipulid species (Diptera:Tipulidae), Gerry Baker
    • Sensilla on bed bug mouthparts (Hemiptera:Cimicidae), Gerry Baker
MRI Related
Data Access

Once your project application has been approved and you are ready to schedule time on the MRI, I²AT will create a data collection account for you. Once MRI data is acquired you will receive an automated email with instruction on accessing the data.

QA Status
  • QA Status - Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is a functional imaging sequence based on MRI principles used to detect brain activity. This sequence relies heavily on image quality and stability of the magnet's performance. To verify the stability of the signal produced during fMRI sequence, a detailed quality assurance (QA) test is done with the fMRI sequence performed with a phantom that mimics the human head in an RF head coil. The images obtained from this QA are sent for advanced image processing that generates various image quality measures (e.g. signal-to-noise ratio, percent fluctuation, ghosting levels). This data is monitored by an MR physicist who is responsible in setting up acceptable upper and lower threshold limits for each of these values collected over a specified time frame (i.e. 6 month or 1 year). The data obtained from the daily QA is plotted graphically with the threshold limits marked. The graphical representation of the data helps researchers determine the status of the magnet and its performance on a daily basis. This routine QA scan helps identify any performance or stability issues to the MR system early on and can help expedite services leading to better equipment and image quality stability over a time. Daily QA results and data over time are available here to assist with fMRI research efforts. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Equipment Setup Instructions for fMRI Experiments
Brain Voyager Software Manual
Animal Research Manual
IRB Memorandum of Understanding