Molecular Imaging Core resources

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Molecular Imaging Core resources

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The UVa Molecular Imaging Core (UVaMIC) Lab has approximately 2000 ft2 in the Sheridan G. Snyder Translational Research Building and another 1000 ft2 in the nearby Medical Research (MR4) Building at the University of Virginia.

At the Snyder Building are minicells for the production of PET labeled imaging substrates, and labs for organic and SPECT chemistry. We are able to label antibodies or peptides with radioactive or fluorescent imaging probes.

Clinical:            N.A.

Animal:          All animal handling for this project will be carried out either in the vivarium at the Snyder Building or MR4. These vivariums are fully accredited for handling both small and large animals.

Computer:      The UVaMIC has a an assortment of computers including PC, Sun, and Apple computers to run the various image acquisition and image processing programs used at the UVaMIC.

Office:           Adequate office space is provided for all key personnel in both the Snyder Building and MR4.

Other:           A darkroom and film processor are available in research laboratory space. The UVa Radiology Department supports a machine shop and an electronics shop.  UVa Physics Department has an extensive, well-equipped machine shop with four full-time machinists ($25/hr), as well as a graduate student shop.


MAJOR EQUIPMENT:  List the most important equipment items already available for this project, noting the location and pertinent capabilities of each.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

1) ClinScan (Bruker/Siemens) 7 Tesla small animal MRI with broadband capabilities running software version VB15. The 7T ClinScan (Bruker/Siemens) state of the art small animal MR scanner was purchased using $2M from the NIH-NCRR (S10 RR019911, SS Berr PI) in April 2007. The ClinScan has a Siemens Avanto console, and Bruker gradients (600 mT.m-1 maximum strength, 6000 T.m-1.s-1 rise rate). The system has 8 receiver channels for phased array imaging. Software ports directly between the human and ClinScan Siemens MRIs.

2) Varian 200/400 4.7 Tesla small animal MRI with a state-of-the-art Varian Direct Drive imaging console. This instrument has full microimaging capabilities. The MR imaging system includes an actively shielded Magnex 4.7 Tesla, 21cm bore magnet (accessible diameter is 16cm), with Magnex gradient (400 mT.m-1 maximum strength, 3200 mT.m-1.s-1 rise rate, and 15 room-temperature computer-controlled shims. The RF and acquisition systems are entirely broadband from 5-210MHz.

Radiotracer Imaging

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) - Focus 120 (Siemens Medical Solutions Molecular Imaging, Malvern, Pennsylvania) that is optimized for imaging rodents with roughly 1.25mm spatial resolution, ability to cardiac and respiratory gate, and a full software analysis package.


Bioluminescence / Fluorescence Imaging

1) IVIS Spectrum (Caliper Lifesciences, Alameda, CA) is optimized for in vivo luminescence and fluorescence imaging. It includes an optimized set of high efficiency filters and spectral un-mixing algorithms for imaging from blue to near infrared. It also offers single-view 3D tomography for both fluorescent and bioluminescent reporters that can be analyzed in an anatomical context using the Caliper Digital Mouse Atlas. The Spectrum has the capability for either trans-illumination (from the bottom) or epi-illumination (from the top) to illuminate in vivo fluorescent sources. 3D diffuse fluorescence tomography can be performed to determine source localization and concentration using the combination of structured light and trans illumination fluorescent images. The instrument is equipped with 10 narrow band excitation filters (30nm bandwidth) and 18 narrow band emission filters (20nm bandwidth) that assist in significantly reducing autofluorescence by the spectral scanning of filters and the use of spectral unmixing algorithms. In addition, the spectral unmixing tools allow the researcher to separate signals from multiple fluorescent reporters within the same animal.

Physiological Monitoring. Animals’ heart rate and breathing will be monitored using SA Instruments (Stony Brook, NY) model 1025 for MRI and a model 1025L for PET and SPECT hardware/software systems for monitoring and gating system.

Cyclotron. Siemens Eclipse™ HP 11 MeV Cyclotron that can produce curies amounts of 18F, 11C, 13N and 15O using a 4-position automated target carousel. We also have solid targets for the production of isotopes such as 64Cu.


Chemistry Modules. We have radiochemistry lab adjacent to the cyclotron with underground conduits for the delivery of radioisotopes to the lab. There are six Von Gahlen minicells that are populated with the following: (1) Eckert & Ziegler (E&Z) Modular Lab [11C] for the production of methyl iodide or methyl triflate; (2) E&Z Modular-Lab PharmTracer system for the production of a variety of radiolabeled biomarkers using 11C methyl iodide/triflate or 18F-; (3) Siemens Explora GN for general Nucleophilic 18F- reactions; (4) Siemens Explora CN which can be used for making 11C-HCN; (5) Siemens Explora LC for preparative liquid chromatography for purification of products, and; (6) a dose calibrator for measurement of radioactivity of starting material and final products.

PET/CT Scanner. We have a Siemens Biograph 40 TruePoint PET/CT scanner with LSO crystals, 2mm slice spacing  and 4.2mm transaxial resolution.

MRI. Human research MRIs: 3T Siemens Trio and 1.5T Avanto MRI scanner.