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Public lecture to mark opening of research centre focusing on speedier hospital scans

Posted on 9 September 2013

Major improvements in the detection of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s are being developed at a pioneering £7m research facility due to open officially at the University of York this week.

Sir William Castell will give a public lecture on 11 September

Register for tickets

The new Centre for Hyperpolarisation in Magnetic Resonance (CHyM) is developing technology which could increase the sensitivity of hospital Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans by up to 200,000 times.

The new purpose-built facility on York Science Park will be opened by Sir William Castell, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust at a ceremony on 11 September. Sir William will give a public lecture on how our understanding of the human body has been transformed through the application of engineering.

Over 30 research scientists work at the centre which includes a chemical laboratory and the latest research instrumentation.

The new technique, known as Signal Amplification by Reversible Exchange (SABRE), means that chemical analysis that once took 90 days to record can now be obtained in just five seconds, and detailed MRI images can be collected in seconds rather than hours. It could improve diagnoses and detection in many areas of medicine including cancer treatment, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative conditions.

Professor Simon Duckett from the University’s Department of Chemistry is leading the research, along with Professor Gary Green from the York Neuroimaging Centre (YNiC), supported by a Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust.

Professor Duckett said the official opening marked a significant milestone in the development of new scanning technologies at York.

“The new technique we are developing here at York means that patients who once had to wait days or even weeks for scans to be completed and interpreted can, in some cases, now be diagnosed in hours allowing earlier treatment for serious illness. 

Professor Green said:

“The technique will bring significant benefits to diagnosis and treatment in many areas of medicine and surgery ranging from cancer diagnosis to orthopaedics and trauma. It could ultimately replace current clinical imaging technologies that depend on the use of radioactive substances or heavy metal based contrast.”

The project has gained over £12m investment from the Wellcome Trust, Bruker Biospin, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the University. It combines the world class expertise of research scientists from the University’s departments of Chemistry, Psychology and Biology as well as the Hull York Medical School.

Notes to editors:

  • The public lecture by Sir William Castell, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust will take place in the National Science Learning Centre at the University of York at 6.30pm on 11 September. Register for tickets:
  • Find out more about the work underway at the University of York’s Centre for Hyperpolarisation in Magnetic Resonance (CHyM)
  • Professor Simon Duckett ( is the Director of the Centre for Hyperpolarisation in Magnetic Resonance, part of the Department of Chemistry (
  • Professor Gary Green ( is the Director of the York Neuroimaging Centre ( and co-directs CHyM.
  • The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust’s breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.
  • The EPSRC funds research and postgraduate training in engineering and the physical sciences at universities and other organisations throughout the UK
  • Bruker Corporation is a leading provider of high-performance scientific instruments and solutions for molecular and materials research, as well as for industrial and applied analysis. Its magnetic resonance division, Bruker BioSpin, delivers the world's most comprehensive range of magnetic resonance research tools enabling life science, materials science, analytical chemistry, process control and clinical research. Bruker BioSpin is also the leading manufacturer of superconducting high and ultra high field magnets for NMR and MRI. For more information about Bruker Corporation, please visit
  • The Hull York Medical School was established as a joint venture between the Universities of Hull and York, in partnership with the National Health Service. It capitalises on Hull’s considerable strengths in clinical medicine and York’s internationally recognised work in bioscience and health-related research.

Contact details

Sheila Perry
Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322029

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