Integrated Small Animal Imaging Research Resource



Located within the iSAIRR imaging suite, the microPET/SPECT/CT Facility provides full comprehensive services for non-invasive, quantitative and longitudinal imaging of small animals, and ex-vivo tissues/organs, specimens, cells and materials.

Common and new radiotracers produced by the Cyclotron Facility enable investigation of metabolic processes in cancer development and treatment, neurologic disorders, immunology, cardiac and vascular disease, drug development and more. These non-invasive techniques allow to carry out longitudinal studies and inform faster and more efficient clinical translation.

With support from the BSD, state-of-the-art benchtop Molecubes scanners were acquired. These instruments provide easy and modular multimodal imaging. The instruments are housed in the iSAIRR Molecular Imaging Suite located immediately adjacent to the Cyclotron facility.

Molecubes main features include:

  • X-Cube microCT scanner:
    • Fast whole body mouse and rat 3D CT imaging at extremely low dose and excellent soft tissue contrast
    • Provides anatomical reference for co-registration and correction of PET images
    • High-resolution protocol for in-vivo and ex-vivo bone tissue studies
    • Characterization of materials and biomaterials
  • Beta-Cube microPET scanner:
    • Rat and whole body mouse imaging
    • High spatial resolution and high sensitivity
    • Low tracer dose
    • Static and dynamic reconstruction
  • Gamma-Cube microSPECT scanner:
    • Rat and whole body mouse imaging
    • High spatial resolution and high sensitivity
    • General purpose collimator 

All systems have onboard physiological monitoring and heating.

In 2019 iSAIRR received  SIFAR award S10 OD025265 from NIH which provided support for the development of our Molecular Imaging program and establishment of the ex-vivo biodistribution and autoradiography laboratory. The instruments acquired include:

  • Swisstrace Twilite Three blood sampling system for the acquisition of arterial unput function
  • PerkinElmer Wizard2 gamma counter for ex-vivo assays of tissues and samples
  • ThermoFisher Cryostar 50 cryostat
  • Amersham Typhoon5 biomolecular imager for phosphorimaging and autoradiography of tissue slices, 2-D DIGE imaging, red/green/blue (RGB) and near IR fluorescence.

Dedicated workstations have software for image processing and analysis including:

  • VivoQuant by inviCRO
  • PMOD by PMOD Technologies

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Imaging of small live animals, tissues, cells, materials, ex vivo specimens, mummified or other specimens.

  • 3D high resolution anatomy by CT
  • Quantitative metabolic imaging via 18-F labeled FDG by PET
  • Functional, metabolic, physiologic imaging using a variety of radiotracers via PET and/or SPECT and CT when specific contrast agents are used.
  • Multi-modality imaging in coordination with Optical Imaging and MRIS Subcores.

Users may select CT only scans, SPECT/CT only scans, PET/CT only scans, and PET/SPECT/CT scans. Imaging may also include MRI and Optical Imaging multi-modal imaging and image co-registration.

Image Analysis: assistance in image interpretation and data analysis including enhanced processing and reconstruction of 3D tomographic images, physiological modeling and derivation of parametric images are available.

Consultation: The PET/SPECT/CT staff provides assistance in designing of imaging experiments and protocols. Such support ranges from the selection of radiotracers and/or contrast agents to imaging protocol design and implementation tailored to the needs of a specific study.

To get started, please contact Dr. Leoni and Dr. Tsai. Together with our Faculty directors, Dr. Chin-Tu Chen and Dr. Chien-Min Kao, iSAIRR staff will design and implement protocols, post-acquisition image processing, enhancement, and analysis.

Due to Radiation Safety regulations and compliance, the microPET/SPECT/CT is a full service facility and iSAIRR’s staff performs all set-up procedures, in-vivo­ and ex-vivo imaging and related procedures.

Prior to scheduling imaging time, a copy of each User’s approved IACUC/IBC protocols, and any subsequent amendments to those protocols, must be on file with the facility. For a detailed description of imaging protocols, please refer to the Imaging Core Supplemental Form. (Please save the pdf to your computer, then open the document with Adobe.  Many browsers are not able to read the interactive pdf.)