Skip to Content
UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital


Siemens MicroCAT-2Anatomic MicroCT Scanning

We have utilized a commercial first generation microCT scanner since 2001. In December 2005, we acquired a new large field-of-view MicroCAT-2 from Siemens. It is equipped with a large field-of-view detector, thus allowing high resolution scanning (18 micron) of rats up to 300 grams. The system is equipped with a rodent isoflurane gas anesthesia system and physiologic monitoring system which allows image gating.
Inveon microPET/CTFunctional MicroPET and Hybrid MicroPET/CT Scanning

In late December, 2006, we received the first Inveon microCT/microPET hybrid scanner from Siemens.  This first hybrid scanner coupled with our own proprietary cell-selective imaging and contrast agents afford our investigators unique disease detection and evaluation technologies which can only be provided at the University of Wisconsin (UW). This new scanner provides unsurpassed PET sensitivity (>10%), resolution (1.2 mm) and axial field of view (12cm) as well as 15-micron spatial CT resolution and real time image reconstruction. This system is equipped with a built in BioVet physiologic monitoring system which permits gated image acquisition and animal monitoring, integrated isoflurane anesthesia system and internal infrared video camera which allows visual monitoring of animals during scan acquisition.
Varian 4.7T Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scanner

High Resolution MRI Scanning

Installation of a Varian 4.7T small animal scanner was completed in April of 2007.  The horizontal bore imaging/spectroscopy system gives us the capability to scan rodents up to 600 grams with an in-plane resolution on the order of 50 microns. The system is also equipped with a rodent isoflurane gas anesthesia system and physiologic monitoring system that allows image gating. It has broadband capability allowing us to scan a variety of nuclei including 1H, 31P, 19F and 13C. T1 and T2 anatomical scans are possible as well as the creation of T1, T2 and T2* maps. The system is also capable of functional MRI (EPI), diffusion and diffusion tensor imaging, localized spectroscopy (STEAM and PRESS) as well as chemical-shift imaging and perfusion imaging with Gd-based contrast agents. These specifications allow investigators to visualize and quantify a variety of moieties and processes including metabolites (NMR spectroscopy), anatomical structures, tumor morphology, blood flow/vessels, fiber pathways, drug effects, brain activity and heart motion. In early 2008, we became one of only five institutions in the US to receive a commercial dynamic nuclear polarization system from GE. This system allows rapid in vivo investigation of biochemical events enhanced with carbon-13 labeled substrates at enhanced sensitivity levels.

Ivis SpectrumOptical Scanning


The IVIS Spectrum (Caliper Life Sciences) is capable of both bioluminescence and fluorescence scanning and is used for non-invasive longitudinal monitoring of cancer progression, metastatic cell trafficking and gene expression patterns in living animals. An optimized set of high efficiency filters and spectral un-mixing algorithms affords noninvasive imaging of bioluminescent and fluorescent reporters across the blue to near infrared wavelength region. It also offers single-view 3D tomography for both fluorescent and bioluminescent reporters that can be analyzed in an anatomical context using a digital mouse atlas. The Spectrum has the capability to use 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.

FluobeamIntraoperative Real Time NIR Scanning


The Small Animal Imaging Facility (SAIF) is one of the first in the US to obtain the Fluobeam™ (Fluoptics, Paris) hand-held imaging system which detects in vivo near infrared fluorescence in 2D at 800 nm. The system is equipped with a laser able to excite the near infrared fluorophores (NIR), associated with a crown of LEDs allowing one to work under white light in open space with a direct access to the animal. Focused on cancer surgery improvement, this technology will afford oncology surgeons a radically new efficiency in tumor resection. Of course the success of this concept will depend in large part on the ability of the optical agent to selectively localize in the tumor prior to surgery. Several UW investigators are currently developing tumor-specific NIR optical probes for intravenous administration that may potentially afford real-time intraoperative tumor margin illumination. Intraoperative margin illumination, for example, could have significant impact in glioma resection and rapidly determining lymph node involvement during breast cancer resection. This newly introduced unit is designed to be used in a surgical suite and therefore offers rapid clinical translation potential.

Micro-Imaging Suite


We have enjoyed tremendous institutional support for establishing a first rate small animal imaging facility and have centralized our efforts into a newly designed 2000 gsf facility specifically designed for small animal and molecular imaging in the WIMR (Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research) building, a 7-story research building attached to the hospital and adjacent to the School of Pharmacy and the Waisman Research Institute. This facility houses the microCT (Siemens MicroCAT-2) and hybrid microPET/CT (Siemens Inveon) scanners, optical fluorescence/bioluminescence scanner (Caliper Ivis Spectrum), bioacoustic microscopy systems (Visual Sonics), and a 4.7T MRI and associated hyperpolarization apparatus. Several Siemens (IRW) and Amira based image reconstruction and analysis workstations are also located here. An important aspect of this facility is the adjacent animal holding room which contains new passively ventilated rodent housing racks (Animal Care Systems, Inc) for housing radioactive animals and those involved in long-term tumor monitoring studies. The WIMR complex is strategically located adjacent to the animal vivarium and non-radioactive animals involved in imaging studies are housed there. This preclinical and molecular imaging suite is designed with translational research in mind as supported by the fact the microCT/microPET hybrid is located adjacent to the research clinical GE 64-slice PET/CT hybrid scanner. Also located adjacent to the small animal imaging suite are cyclotron and radiochemistry facilities which provide expertise on PET agent synthesis in a collaborative or fee-for-service basis. The SAIF leader currently coordinates PET synthesis with Drs. Nickles and DeJesus in the UW Medical Physics Department. Agents may alternatively be acquired from commercial sources such as PET Net or IBA Molecular and the source will ultimately be determined by price, availability and quality of the requested PET agents. All radioiodinated agents are synthesized and radiolabeled in the GMP Radioiodination lab located in 7120 WIMR.

The suite has a fully functional cell culture lab which enables cold cell storage and generation of xenograft tumor models as well as a small animal prep lab for performing special procedures in preparation for scanning as well as post study dissection, tissue procurement and data collection.