Preclinical Imaging Core (PIC)

Lisa Lemen, PhD

The Core was established to provide non-invasive multimodal imaging capabilities optimized for rodent imaging to the UC research community. The facility specializes in micro-CT and micro-PET/SPECT and MRI for longitudinal research projects in small animal models, but also provides bioluminescence, fluorescence and planar x-ray imaging capabilites. A XenX cabinet irradiator is available for cell, focal, and whole-rodent irradiation. All imaging and irradiation systems have integrated isoflurane anesthesia delivery and scavenging units. The Core actively supports research in cancer and other progressive diseases, and a variety of surgical and bioengineering projects. The PIC is staffed with personnel with extensive experience in imaging technology to assist in the design, execution, and interpretation of the data.  With locations within and directly adjacent to the university vivarium and with standard IUCAC protocols in place for the PIC’s scan modalities, access to the services is readily available to the research community

To access services from the PIC, please login or create an account in Stratocore at

Location and Hours:
Vontz Center Rm 0330 (basement- restricted access - call lab 558-7930)
M-F  8:30am-5pm; or as arranged

Announcement Jan 2023
The Bruker 9.4T small animal MRI in MSB 4106 is now being managed through the PIC. It is a vertical bore spectrometer with a gradient insert for imaging,  The system is currently optimized for mouse brain imaging. Please contact the lab for further information. 

Announcement Jan 2019
A XenX closed cabinet x-ray irradiator with a rotational gantry, designed for irradiation of cells and rodents is now available.  Please contact the lab or Michael Lamba (584-9028, for further information.

Announcement  Sept 2018
Bioluminescence and Fluorescence imaging services are available to PIs within the UC-COM LAMS mouse facilities – mice housed in the LAMS Vontz and MSB facilities remain behind the barrier for their imaging sessions and are returned to their original rooms. Please contact the lab for further information. 

  • PET/CT/SPECT imaging

    1. Standard Imaging services for small animals, with contrast agents and radiopharmaceuticals supplied as a pass-through charge
    a. Micro CT – in-vivo and ex-vivo imaging; specialized CT contrast agents 
    b. Micro SPECT with standard clinical tracers
    c. Micro PET with 18F-FDG, Ga-68 and other standard clinical PET tracers
    d. co-registered modalities
    e. includes protocol-specific calibrations

    2.Advanced Imaging Services
    a.Respiratory or cardiac-gated CT
    b.Micro PET & SPECT with novel tracers


    $225 per hour

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  • Optical imaging (BLI, FLR) and x-ray

    1. Standard Imaging services for small animals, with agents supplied either by PI or as a pass-through charge
    a. Bioluminescence (BLI)  
    b. Fluorescence (FLR)
    c. visual (white-light)
    d. planar x-ray 
    e. co-registered modalities
    f. includes protocol-specific calibrations

    2. Advanced imaging services
    a. Mouse femur bone densitometry studies


    $125 per hour (Vontz); $135 per hour (MSB)

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  • Investigator self processing

    Investigator use of image processing workstations and software.
    Basic instructions provided by lab personnel.  


    $25 per hour

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  • Image and Data post-processing

    Image post-processing by PIC personnel:
    1. basic tasks: data transfer; cropping; volumetrics; 
    2. advanced analysis: bone densitometry; pharmacokinetics; 


    $75 per hour

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  • Radiopharmaceuticals and specialized contrast agents



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  • Irradiations

    1. Standard irradiation services, including cell, mouse whole-body, and mouse flank xenograph irradiations are provided through the Core. Please contact the lab (558-7930) for information and scheduling.

    2. Complex or unusual irradiations, such as orthotopic or highly focal irradiations can be developed specific to your application. These services must be coordinated with Dr. Michael Lamba (584-9028, prior to scheduling.


    $75 per hour + therapy physics support

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  • MR Imaging

    Standard Imaging services for mice, with contrast agents supplied as a pass-through charge.


    $100/hr (instrument & personnel)

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  • Inveon PET/SPECT/CT

    Tri-modal micro-imaging system with LSO-based positron emission tomography (micro-PET), dual-head single photon emission computed tomography (micro-SPECT), and cone-beam computerized tomography (micro-CT) sub-systems.

    • Bore size = 12 cm; max FOV = 10 cm.
    • Integrated Biovet monitoring system: respiratory, EKG, temperature control; heating pad on pallet
    • 30 – 80 kVp CT with 50 to 500 uA
    • CT resolutions from 17 to 54 um for objects 1.5 to 5 cm diameter
    • 3D PET acquisition with full range of standard and iterative reconstruction methods
    • Multi and single pinhole collimators for SPECT imaging
    • Analysis software with volume-of-interest tools and 3D visualization

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  • Bruker multi-spectral FX PRO

    Bioluminescence, fluorescence, x-ray, and optical imaging in small animals. Located in the Vontz LAMS facility.

    • 20 - 200 mm FOV (images up to 4 mice simultaneously)
    • warm-air chamber with isoflurane anesthesia manifolds
    • 175W Xenon illumination source
    • -29oC cooled CCD camera
    • 20 excitation filters: 390nm to 770nm in 20nm steps 
    • 6 exchangeable emission filters: 535nm, 600 nm, 700nm, 750nm, 790nm, 830nm
    • exposure modes: single capture, multiple capture, progressive exposure, time-lapse exposure
    • co-registration (overlays) of BLI or FLR with optical or x-ray imaging
    • 12 – 35 kVp xray with 0.8, 0.4, 0.2 and 0.1mm beryllium filters
    • Quantitative bone density software for analysis of mouse femurs

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  • Xen-X Irradiator

    Closed cabinet x-ray irradiator with a rotational gantry, designed for irradiation of cells and rodents. Provides both whole-body irradiation for myelosuppression, and focal irradiation similar to current clinical radiotherapy approaches.  A portal imaging camera provides verification of the beam localization.

    • (
    • 50 – 220 kV x-rays
    • Mounted on isocentric arm with 35 cm source-to-isocenter distance
    • 3 mm round to 10 cm x 10 cm fields at standard distance, larger at extended distances
    • Full set of wide-field and fixed diameter collimators
    • Variable collimator attachment
    • Point dose calculator
    • 0.69 mm Cu HVL treatment x-rays
    • Whole-body irradiation pies available through LAMS

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  • Perkin-Elmer IVIS Spectrum

     Bioluminescence, fluorescence, and optical imaging in mice. 
    Located in the MSB LAMS facility. 

    • 40 - 260 mm FOV (images up to 5 mice simultaneously)
    • Heated stage with isoflurane anesthesia manifolds
    • 150W Halogen illumination source
    • 10 excitation filters: 415 nm to 760 nm, 30 nm steps  
    • 18 emission filters: 490 nm to 850 nm, in 20 nm steps
    • -90oC cooled CCD camera
    • exposure modes: auto and manual timing; single and multiple capture
    • co-registration (overlays) of BLI or FLR with optical imaging
    • .Living Image software for analysis

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  • Bruker 9.4T MRI

    The vertical bore 9.4T spectrometer is equipped with a high performance gradient insert and a microimaging probehead.  System capabilities include high-resolution structural imaging (e.g. T1, T2, T2*, FLAIR) and wide-ranging specialist imaging techniques (T2 mapping, diffusion tensor, perfusion, magnetization transfer and angiographic imaging) for mouse models.

    • vertical wide-bore spectrometer
    • 89mm bore size for spectroscopy samples
    • 36mm 1H volume coil (34 mm max imaging FOV)
    • Mini0.75 gradient set (0.75 gauss/cm/A) with 60 amp gradient current amplifiers
    • Paravision 5.1 software interface for MR imaging of mice. Includes DTI and SWI modules.
    • Integrated Small Animal Instruments, Inc (SAII) monitoring system: respiratory, EKG, and temperature; warm-air blown through probe
    • Gated acquisitions from ECG or respiratory triggers

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