Small Animal Imaging Lab

Shared Resources

The Small Animal Imaging Laboratory (SAIL) Core provides advanced and affordable multi-modality imaging services including consultation, imaging and image analysis for both basic and translational research. As a cutting-edge research facility, SAIL offers state of the art instrumentation including a 7T MRI, multimodal PET/SPECT/CT as well as optical modalities.

SAIL services have in the past largely been employed to evaluate tumor development, progression, metastasis and response to therapies in mouse and rat models of cancer. A large variety of studies ranging from development of imaging biomarkers, contrast agents and high-resolution anatomical imaging of human specimens have been successfully conducted.

To provide means for non-invasive, longitudinal assessments of detailed animal anatomy, physiology, metabolism and gene-expression, basic and advanced image analysis is offered for each imaging modality.

MRI/MRS (7 Tesla Biospec, Bruker Biospin Inc.)

  • Non-invasive high-resolution 3D imaging with and without contrast agents.
  • Spectroscopy and spectroscopic imaging correlating anatomical and metabolic information.
  • Hyperpolarization for a 10,000-fold sensitivity increase in spectra.

CT/PET/SPECT (Siemens Inveon, Scanco uCT 35)

  • In vivo 3D multi-modal imaging in one session.
  • High-resolution datasets for microanatomy and lung nodule detection (CT).
  • Using positron-emitting tracers, assess uptake and metabolism (PET)
  • Using gamma-emitting radioisotope, assess functional information (SPECT).
  • Ex vivo high resolution bone imaging (CT). 

Optical Imaging: Bioluminscence (Bruker Xtreme, IVIS 100 & 200, Perkin-Elmer)

  • Bioluminescent cells engineered to express the firefly luciferase gene for in vivo tracking during tumor formation.
  • Cell proliferation and differentiation by injection of luciferin substrate and the subsequent detection of released photons. 

Optical Imaging: Fluorescence (Bruker Xtreme, Perkin-Elmer FMT 2500, ART Optix, MX3, SurgVision, Fluoptix Fluobeam 700)

  • Fluorescence imaging is used to detect cells expressing fluorescence protein or to track the pharmacokinetics of fluorescent-dye conjugated agents in 2D/3D.
  • Radioisotopic & radiographic imaging of Ra223, Ac225 based biomarkers.
  • Quantify changes in bone and soft tissue phenotypes.
  • Multispectral analysis of multiple fluorescent samples in a single sample.
  • Fluorescence cameras for real-time guided surgery using target imaging agents.

Ultrasound Imaging (Vevo 2100)

  • Ultrasound for non-invasive imaging of internal organs and tumor morphology.
  • Guided injection of cells into internal organ sites for formation of orthotopic xenograft tumors.
  • Micro-bubble contrast imaging.

3D Printing (Stratasys Objet24)

  • 3D printing for co-registration of imaging and histology.
  • Custom parts (phantoms, holders) for MRI, CT, microscopy and others as needed.

The SAIL is located in the Stabile Research Building (SRB) Vivarium.

The SAIL uses a Laboratory Information Management Suite (LIMS) located on the Moffittnet for billing and usage tracking.

All publications based on work conducted in the SAIL Core should acknowledge the facility.  A suggested statement is as follows:

This work has been supported in part by the Small Animal Imaging Laboratory Core at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, a comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute.

If a Core Staff member(s) significantly contributes or participates in a project, investigators are encouraged to consider including the individual(s) in the list of authors.

Scientific Director
Robert J. Gillies, Ph.D.

Core Facility Manager
Gary Martinez, Ph.D.
Office: 813-745-4582