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:

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
David Morse Ph.D.

This work has been supported in part by the Small Animal Imaging Lab Core at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, a comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute and funded in part by Moffitt’s Cancer Center Support Grant (P30-CA076292)