NEUROSPIN: From Physics to the Human Brain  

Each year, a growing percentage of the population in the developed countries suffers from neurological or psychiatric diseases.  Large amounts of money are spent for the treatment and rehabilitation of these patients.  Life expectancy is increasing and the potential benefits from research on the workings of the brain in an ageing population are obvious. 

A better understanding of how  the human brain works will have a direct impact on health care but also on society. This quest for an understanding of the brain is a major scientific and technical endeavour which requires close cooperation between a number of experts of many disciplines, such as physics, mathematics, data processing, neurosciences, human and social sciences, ...


The aim of NeuroSpin is to push as far as possible the current limits of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy to study the central nervous system, from mice to humans. Benefiting from French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) know-how in the conception of magnets (Irfu) and NMR technology, this technical platform is equipped with outstanding MRI/MRS equipment and related tools and an advanced computer platform. NeuroSpin houses a 3T and a 7T wide bore MR scanners for clinical studies, as well as a 11.7T wide bore system and soon a 17T small bore system for preclinical studies (early 2010). The design of a home-made whole-body magnet operating at 11.7T is underway (scheduled for end of 2012).


NeuroSpin will house a fully equipped clinical suit with beds and test/examination rooms (neuropsychology, electrophysiology, pharmacology) to accommodate protocols involving normal volunteers and patients. The center will also be equipped with an animal care facility, as well as several laboratories (electronics, chemistry, biology, histology, molecular imaging…). NeuroSpin architecture will be designed by Claude Vasconi. Author of the Corum (Montpellier), of the Palais des Congrès (Reims), of the Paris-Berlin Center (Berlin), of the Chamber of Commerce and the International Bank of Luxembourg,...



Large office spaces are available to accommodate external teams. Indeed, beside resident researcher teams, technicians and support teams, NeuroSpin has been conceived as an open, shared facility designed to welcome international teams of researchers on a temporary basis (weeks to months), giving them the opportunity to carry out their own studies. This concept, which has been in use for years in the physics community (accelerators, synchrotrons,….),  has proven very successful, allowing teams to share expensive or rare equipment they could not afford on an individual basis.


Located in Saint-Aubin/Saclay near Paris, this imaging platform is unique in Europe. It offers exceptional resources to the international scientific community with a strong multidisciplinary environment (mathematics, physics, computer sciences, signal and image processing, neurosciences, neuropsychology, neurology, brain development, molecular imaging, functional genomics,…).


Projects are aimed either at methodological developments (MRI/MRS physics, instrumentation, image processing,  neuronal modeling, molecular imaging,….) or neuroscience applications (normal human volunteers or patients, animal models, neural modeling, biological effects of magnetic fields,…). NeuroSpin opended in 2007 and is accepting projects from renown international teams.




Contact information:

Mailing address:
Bâtiment 145, Point Courrier 156
CEA-Saclay Center
F91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex
Tel:  +33 (0)1 69 08 82 05
Fax: +33 (0)1 69 86 79 80



- NeuroSpin brochure/flyer ( part1, part2), ( )
- Poster on NeuroSpin ( )
- Molecular Imaging Outlook article ( part1, part2, part3)

- NeuroSpin Executive Summary ( )

- how to com to NeuroSpin
- NeuroSpin URL:
- Molecular Imaging Outlook


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