Molecular Imaging

The Molecular Imaging Core Facility, located in the Molecular Imaging Research Center (MIRC) on the first floor of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, provides state-of-art in vivo molecular imaging services for performing translational research using rodents.

In vivo molecular imaging technology such as positron emission tomography (PET) provides scientists with a window to look at real-time biological and physiological processes in human organs (e.g. brain and heart) and in diseases (e.g. cancer), revealing the immediate changes that medicine can make. F-18 labeled fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is a radiopharmaceutical that is used routinely in the clinic for the diagnosis of various diseases in oncology, neurology and cardiology. This facility has a microPET scanner for performing the same imaging on small animals.

The facility includes the following equipment:

microPET R4 Small Animal and Rodent PET Scanner

PET is a unique imaging technology that provides information about the living organism’s biochemical processes and location of disease at the molecular level. The microPET R4 is a dedicated small animal Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging device. microPET provides researchers in the biomedical sciences with a compact and very high performance PET

system that can be used to non-invasively image a wide range of laboratory animals in a routine laboratory setting. Researchers around the world use microPET scanners to:

  • Study animal models of human disease
  • Study genetically engineered animals
  • Assess new pharmacological agents in drug development
  • Assess novel drug delivery and gene therapy approaches
  • Develop new molecular imaging assays
  • Develop new radiotracers for use in diagnostic imaging

Non-invasive, in vivo functional imaging with microPET® allows both serial and longitudinal studies to be conducted in the same animal. This gives researchers the opportunity to follow a single animal over time and to monitor the effects of interventions on disease progression and outcome. microPET is therefore a particularly valuable tool in animal models that have high intrinsic value or which exhibit high variability.

All scanners utilize unique Lutetium Oxyorthosilicate (LSO) detector technology, and include a computer-controlled bed, a laser alignment system, image reconstruction, image display and basic image analysis.

Technical Specifications:

Resolution at Center of FoV ≤ 1.8 mm
Detector Blocks 96
LSO Elements 6,144
Pixel Size 2.1 x 2.1 x 10 mm
Absolute Sensitivity 4.0 %
Axial FoV (cm) 7.8

Maestro Fluorescence Imaging

Fluorescence imaging uses non-invasive light-based techniques to quickly detect structures and processes deep within small animals. The Maestro system provides very good sensitivity, a high level of multiplexing capabilities, and quantitative accuracy. The Maestro system effectively removes undesirable signals such as autofluorescence from images taken of small-animal models, thereby allowing researchers to see fluorescent signals easier, sooner and more accurately. The system allows the use of multiple fluorophores, detecting and separating even spectrally overlapping and difficult-to-distinguish signals.

Director: Chin K. Ng, Ph.D. – Director, Molecular Imaging Core Facility
Office: 502/852-6244 or 5875, Fax: 502/852-1754

For more information or for scheduling: