Safety and Training

Researcher Safety Training

Level 1 Safety Training

At the UConn Brain Imaging Research Center, safety is our top priority. To ensure the safety of all researchers and participants, BIRC adheres to a specific safety and training policy that requires all researchers intending to use Center resources complete basic safety training to understand the risks and protocols related to an MRI environment. The safety training module is comprised of viewing education videos and taking an online quiz, and takes approximately 30 minutes. Once you complete the test with a score of seven or higher please contact Elisa Medeiros to be given card access to the public areas (Zone 1) at BIRC.

Level 2 Safety Training

Investigators and students wishing to conduct research using our Siemens Prisma 3T scanner will need to complete advanced safety training at the BIRC. This involves a period of approximately two hours, during which you will do required reading and receive a hands-on orientation to the MRI suite (Zones 3 and 4). Please contact Elisa Medeiros to schedule safety training.

Use of other BIRC facilities

Appropriate experience and/or training is required for researchers to use other BIRC faciltiies (including the EEG/tDCS and TMS systems). Please contact Roeland Hancock  for more information.


Participant Safety and Screening

All participants need to complete a metal screening form prior to participating in a MRI. We recommend having the form completed prior to the participant’s appointment day so any potential contraindications can be addressed. Below is a list of common issues presented by participants:

  • Permanent retainers: Most are MRI compatible, and create only a small artifact that does not affect data collection; however, some retainers are mildly attracted to the magnet. Unfortunately there is no way to know if the retainer is attracted or not other than to have the participant come in and be tested by entering the magnet room with the technologist. Please note that some retainers that were safe during previous MRIs done on a 1.5T scanner may be attracted to a 3T scanner.
  • Braces: While braces are not a contraindication for MRI, the artifact that is created obliterates anatomy in the fMRI and diffusion sequences; therefore, braces are a contraindication for a participant.
  • Colored contact lenses: Some pigments used in colored contacts contain iron oxide and are not MRI safe. Clear contact lenses can be worn, and MRI compatible glasses can be provided.
  • Tattoos: A small percentage of tattoos can be affected during a MRI resulting in a burn. We suggest avoiding having a study done until the tattoo is fully healed (approximately six weeks).
  • Antimicrobial clothing: Clothing that is anti-microbial cannot be worn during the MRI. This clothing frequently uses copper or silver, and has been known to cause injury or burns during studies.

We also have information for participants that can help them prepare for a study.