VESTAL, N.Y. – (WIVT/WBGH) Greater Binghamton is now home to one of the most advanced MRI technologies in the region thanks to a partnership between Binghamton University and UHS.

Representatives from UHS and BU held a news conference at the UHS Vestal Facility to officially announce the opening of the hospital chain’s new MRI scanning center.

The $2.6 million Siemens MAGNETOM Prisma 3 Tesla scanner, MRI for short, is now live and available to serve patients and host students and researchers to conduct groundbreaking discoveries. This project was five years in the making.

Research applications will focus on studies of the human brain, which could deepen a scientific understanding of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and autism. UHS CEO John Carrigg says that having this technology will attract the best physicians and researchers in the industry.

“The community will benefit immediately from a diagnostic option that is available really for the first time here in Greater Binghamton. This center will make both of our organizations more competitive in attracting and retaining research focused faculty and practicing physicians,” said Carrigg.

BU President Harvey Stenger says that because of the new scanning center, the university has already hired five of the top researchers to practice at the facility. He says that BU students and faculty will get to study on the best technology available.

“To embed a research tool inside of a working health care facility, that will do both, patient care and research, and research at the highest end, is pretty novel. In fact, we don’t really know if there’s many other examples of this anywhere in the country,” said Stenger.

Clinical applications of the scanner include diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, brain disorders, and orthopedic injuries. Similar services were before, only available in larger cities such as Syracuse and Rochester.

MRI technology was first discovered by SUNY Stony Brook faculty roughly 50 years ago, and now, the 21st century version of the technology is now in the Southern Tier.