Preclinical Imaging Instrumentation

The Bioimaging Core Facility operates two small bore high field (7 Tesla) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and MR Spectroscopy (MRS) systems and one Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography scanner with an integrated X-ray Computed Tomography imaging system (SPECT/CT scanner). In addition, computing equipment is available for image storage, analysis, custom computer program development, and database development.

Two animal MRI/MRS systems include a Bruker Biospec magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) system (7T/21 cm, Bruker, Karlshure, Germany) and a Bruker Pharmascan (7T/16 cm) MRI/MRS system equipped with Resonance Research (Billerica, MA) gradients and shims. The MRI/MRS systems are housed in two adjacent 600 square foot laboratories (UH 1324 and 1327).

MRI lab equipment

An adjacent laboratory houses the preclinical single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and computed tomography (CT) dual scanner (GammaMedica-Ideas (GM-I) Flex Triumph Multimodal Preclinical Platform) equipped with multi pinhole collimators, variable radius of rotation heads (1.5 cm to 17.5 cm) and four interchangeable patient beds to accommodate animals from mice to small primates. GM-I’s new VIVID (Volumetric Image Visualization, Identification and Display) software package has been developed specifically for FLEX Triumph with a streamlined user interface for automated fusion and display, automated loading of SPECT, PET and CT image data, and an automated visualization module for 2D, 3D, and single or multiple (fused) images. The SPECT/CT system is located adjacent to the two MRI laboratories (UH 1330C), allowing multimodal imaging of the same animals in both types of scanners.

SPECT/CT system

An adjacent area is subdivided and used for a probe development laboratory (UH 1330A) and chemical preparation laboratory (UH 1330B). The probe laboratory is equipped with a lathe, milling machine, drill press, band saw, PTS frequency synthesizer, 500 MHz digital oscilloscope, transmission and reflection RF sweeper, and basic tools and electronic test equipment to allow machining and development of custom coils and animal holders for projects.

The data analysis laboratory (ESH 1017 and 1021) houses 10 Unix workstations and an array of PC’s for offline data analysis. The workstations include two Linux servers (1GB RAM, 80 Gb hard drive) and three Sun Fire x4500 servers (Sun Microsystems, Santa Clara, CA), one Sun Blade 2000 system (1 Gb RAM, 36 Gb hard drive, CD/DVD burner) and four Sun Blade 2500 systems (3 Gb RAM, CD/DVD burners, two 100 Gb Hard drives, with the second drive acting as a RAID 5 mirror of the first). User access on all Sun workstations is managed using the LDAP software on two Sun Fire X4500 computers serving as redundant servers for added reliability. Home accounts on all systems are directed to the disk array (below) to provide single point access to data from any workstation.

Database development and data storage is provided by the Radiology Research Image Processing disk array. Currently, two redundant Sun Fire V240 servers (Sun Microsystems, Santa Clara, CA) (2 Gb RAM, 60 Gb hard drive) are used to manage a Sun rack housing a primary fast access disk array (Sun StorEdge 6130, 1.8 Tb) and two more economical disk arrays (Sun StorEdge 3511 disk array, 5 Tb, and an RoHS-5 Sun StorageTek disk array, 14 TB) used for less immediate data access. Backup is provided by a remotely located 24 TB disk array operated by a Sun Fire x4500 server. Configuration of disk arrays is managed by Veritas cluster server V.5.1 disk array management tool. The server configuration, Sun storage rack, and software are configured to allow addition of more disk arrays or tape management libraries as additional storage needs arise.

This equipment is used for image and spectroscopic processing as well as for database development and custom program development in C++, Matlab, and IDL.

Consultation, Project Planning and Development

Michael D. Boska, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice Chairman for Research
Department of Radiology
981045 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-1045

R. Lee Mosley, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Pharmacology and
Experimental Neurosciences
985800 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-5800