Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
Flash Section

Small Animal Imaging

Kenneth Olive, PhD, Director

Stephen Sastra, Manager

Christopher Damoci, Senior Staff Officer / Imaging Scientist

The Cancer Center Small Animal Imaging Shared Resource assists Cancer Center Members in imaging-based studies. The ability to use image based studies for phenotypic characterization or functional analysis has become increasingly important for biomedical research.

The goal of Animal Imaging is to provide access to a broad range of in vivo imaging technologies including molecular imaging technologies such as optical imaging, quantitative physiologic imaging with ultrasound, and anatomic imaging with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Most importantly, we provide expertise in planning, executing and analyzing in vivo imaging studies.

Services include:

  • Bruker BioSpec 94/20 9.4 Tesla MRI
  • VEVO 2100 Ultrasonic Imaging System
  • VEVO 2100 Analysis Software (VevoCQ)
  • IVIS Spectrum Bioluminescence and Fluorescence Optical Imaging System
  • Living Image 4.4 Optical Imaging Analysis Software
  • Perkin-Elmer Quantum FX micro-CT Imaging System

Our newest mode of imaging is the Bruker 94/20 Magnetic Resonance Imager, a fully shielded, superconducting wide-bore magnet that is nitrogen free and super cooled via a liquid helium reservoir. The MRI suite was specifically built to house this magnet and is actively shielded from stray radio frequencies to allow for more precise imaging and a higher signal-to-noise ratio. It uses a state-of-the-art integrated, laser-guided rail system with water warmed exam beds to allow for homothermic continuity throughout the exam process. The Bruker BioSpec 9.4 Tesla MR has the ability to perform a multitude of types of magnetic resonance imaging. Some of the applications listed below may require development time and/or collaborations with the imaging core and other scientists at CUMC.

  • Anatomical Imaging
  • Cardiac Imaging
  • MR Spectroscopy
  • Functional MR Imaging

CUMC researchers interested in using the Bruker BioSpec for a research project should fill out the 9.4T MRI Research Project Registration Form and contact Yanping Sun, ys2785@cumc.columbia.edu.

The Quantum FX system is the first stand alone microCT imaging system to deliver high quality images at an X-ray dose low enough to enable true longitudinal microCT imaging in pre-clinical in vivo studies. With Quantum FX you can follow and characterize disease progression throughout your complete study using microCT imaging (micro CT) at every imaging point. With an 18 second scan time that delivers a radiation doses less than most 2D X-ray imagers, you can be confident that your biological model will remain relevant throughout the span of your experiment. Fast imaging and smooth workflow also enable the throughput required to scan cohorts of animals quickly and draw sound conclusions from your experimental data.

We also offer the VisualSonics Vevo2100 High Resolution Ultrasound System for small Animal Imaging. The method includes preparation of the animal for real time imaging, 2D and 3D image acquisition, and post-acquisition analysis of tumors volumes. The Vevo 2100 ultrasound system allows us to non invasively detect and measure abnormalities as well as to compare to normal tissue, thereby identifying the magnitude of the abnormalities. Of particular utility for cancer applications is the ability to use tomography to construct a 3D tumor volume, enabling longitudinal imaging studies to track tumor development, or response to therapies. Advanced applications offered include contrast ultrasonography, vascular assessment by power and/or color Doppler modes, and guided needle injection.

Post acquisition analysis on ultrasound scans is offered with the Vevo2100 Analysis software installed on a dedicated SAI SR computer for qualitative and quantitative assessments and measurements. Of particular utility is the definition of specific regions of interest for tomographic 3D reconstruction and accurate volumetric quantification of identified tumors, organs and tissue. In combination with power Doppler imaging, vascular perfusion can also be measured in these regions. VevoCQ software analysis of contrast ultrasonography experiments allows for even more thorough quantitative assessment of tissue perfusion and reperfusion. Targeted contrast agents can be co-registered with 3D reconstructions for accurate target localization.

The IVIS spectrum is an imaging technique that uses bioluminescent and fluorescent reporters that can render into a 3 dimensional view of the animal. This technique is non invasive and can be used for disease progression monitoring as well as observing gene expression patterns in vivo.

Please click here to download the SAISR Guide to Small Animal Imaging