Preclinical Imaging

The Preclinical Imaging Core Facility extends the benefits of modern dignostic medical imaging systems to the studies of anatomy and physiology in small animals. The Facility currently features state-of-the-art Bruker BioSpec 7.1 T horizontal-bore MRI, General Electric EVS-RS9 micro-CT, Inveon Preclinical micro-PET/ micro-SPECT/ micro-CT and Visen FMT 2500 fluorescence tomographer scanners. All are equipped with supporting and monitoring hardware that allows a wide variety of imaging experiments, including longitudinal studies, to be performed on live animals and specimens. Imaging scientists, full-time imaging personnel, and animal support technicians are available for technical consultation and experimental assistance.

To schedule Preclinical Imaging Core Facility services, please call 801-587-8357. New as well old users will have to register themselves with the Cores administration with a work authorization forms linked below.

NIH policy requires that all users should acknowledge any Core used, in the actual Acknowledgements section. This is due to the use of an automated check of all the Acknowledgements section to determine what resources were used for the publication. This information impacts grant funding for the entire institution. Therefore, please be sure to acknowledge us or any other Cores you use for your publications.

You can acknowledge us by putting the following statement in the acknowledgement section of your publication:

“All animal imaging was performed at the Preclinical Imaging Core Facility, University of Utah.
Thank you.”

To schedule Preclinical Imaging Core Facility services, please call 801-587-8357. New as well old users will have to register themselves with the Cores administration with a work authorization forms linked below.

The Preclinical Imaging facility has a variety of modalities to choose from such as MRI, CT, PET, SPECT and Fluorescence imaging. The Bruker Biospec 7 Tesla Preclinical MRI system is optimal for most MRI and NMR spectroscopy studies. Previous use includes mouse heart DTI studies, In-vivo gated CINE scans, TOF vasculature studies, T2-Weighted, T1-Weighted anatomy scans[BW1], and neuroimaging studies.

The Preclinical Imaging facility has two Preclinical computed tomography (CT) scanners for use with sacrificed or live animals. Uses include embryonic and adult specimen anatomy, bone mineral density, bone mineral content, and angiogenesis index. The Inveon PET/SPECT/CT Trimodality Preclinical system is an excellent choice for multimodality scans. Previously the system has been used for 9 micron resolution scans mice skulls, large FOV scans Mouse hearts, FDG cancer studies, and vasculature studies. The Visen FMT 2500 mouse system provides the capacity to transluminate 4 laser bandwidths providing a true 3D volume, which can be coregistered with the Inveon CT and Bruker MRI.


Our Preclinical Imaging Facility is equipped with a state of the art 7 Tesla Bruker BioSpec MRI scanner with a 30 cm wide cylindrical bore for NMR imaging and spectroscopy applications. Typical preclinical models include rabbits, kittens, rats and mice. Some of the features of our MRI scanner are:

  • 7.05 Tesla magnetic field at magnet isocentre
  •  Actively shielded magnet (reduced stray field)
  • 4 receiver channels and parallel imaging capabilities
  • Scan gating using respiration or ECG signal
  • 3 interchangeable gradient sets
    • i.d. = 20 cm, max gradient = 200 mT/m (shielded) [For larger specimens and animals such as rabbits and kittens]
    • i.d. = 12 cm, max gradient = 400 mT/m (shielded) [For medium sized specimens and animals such as rats and mice]
    • i.d. = 6 cm, max gradient = 1000 mT/m (unshielded) [For mice applications only]
  • Preemphasis unit for eddy current compensation
  • Multi-nuclear NMR capability:1H, 31P, 19F, 13C
  • Modular software development: pulse programs, methods, macros.
  • 15 commercially available volume RF coils ideal for brain imaging (rats and mice) to whole body applications. { Bruker 1H rat brain surface coil , Bruker 1H mouse brain surface coil, Bruker 1H quadrature volume coil with i.d = 72 mm, Bruker 1H linear volume coil with i.d = 72 mm, Bruker 1H quadrature volume coil with i.d = 150 mm, M2M 1H quadrature volume coil with i.d = 90 mm, Rapid 1H quadrature volume coil with I.d = 35 mm and 50 mm}

Together with our MRI scanner our facility also include a Instrument Development Lab which primarily provides infrastructure for the construction of custom RF coils. These are often necessary to optimize the data quality for a given MRI application. We also have some basic machining tools (including a Milling machine) for making experimental apparatus such as scanning platforms and stereo taxes.

Some of our MR imaging capabilities include but are not limited to high-resolution anatomic imaging of small animals or biological specimens

  •  Diffusion-weighted or diffusion tensor imaging
  •  Relaxometry (T1, T2, T2*) mapping
  •  Perfusion MRI
  •  Functional MRI
  •  MR angiography
  •  Cardiac MRI
  •  NMR spectroscopy (localized and non-localized)
  •  Chemical shift imaging
  •  Parallel imaging techniques

Examples of current applications can be viewed in our Gallery section.


Our facility also houses the Inveon Multimodality System is a versatile platform for laboratory animal CT, SPECT, and PET studies on a single integrated gantry. The two scanners in the system can operate independently or as a multimodality system under the control of a single workstation. Some features of the multi modal system are:

Automatic transition between modes and seamless coordination of CT, SPECT, and PET data

  • System can configured as an ultra-high resolution preclinical CT scanner; a high-resolution, high-sensitivity preclinical SPECT scanner; or as a dual modality preclinical SPECT/CT scanner.
  • CT component of the device has a large area 165 mm X-ray camera. It incorporates a high-resolution, low-noise, 14-bit x-ray imaging detector with 4064 x 4064 pixels.
  • The Inveon 2-Head SPECT Module is designed to efficiently detect gamma rays ranging in energy from 30 keV to 250 keV, the SPECT system is ideal for use with most single photon-emitting radionuclides. The two large area detectors (15 cm X 15 cm) support whole animal studies as well as high magnification studies.
  • The system includes two Inveon Research Workplace workstations for multimodality image review, fusion, and analysis which CT, PET, SPECT, and MR data in DICOM and Siemens Inveon CT, PET, and SPECT formats, as well as raw data import.

Together with the Bruker BioSpin MRI and the Inveon Multimodality System , our facility also houses a VISEN FMT 2500™ Fluorescence Molecular Tomography. Unlike two-dimensional planar imaging systems, the FMT 2500 delivers quantification of disease progression and therapeutic efficacy while delivering real time 3D tomographic data all of which is in-vivo. Some additional features of the FMT are:

  • 4 channel excitation with near-infrared laser diodes at 635, 670, 745, and 785 nm, maximizing tissue penetration depth and permitting multiplexed analysis of biological pathways.
  •  System can configured as an ultra-high resolution preclinical CT scanner; a high-resolution, high-sensitivity preclinical SPECT scanner; or as a dual modality preclinical SPECT/CT scanner.

Markers can be found at Perkin Elmer

Rate Schedule

MRI  users are generally charged by the hour according to the following rate schedule :

Type of scan (MRI)
Hourly rate
Live Animals $275/h
Specimens $75/h



Type of scan (CT)
Hourly rate
Live Animals $275/h flat fee


Non – institutional users have a 53.5% surcharge added to the full rate according to the service and type of scans being done.

Hours of Operation

Monday-Friday 9am-5pm by appointment


Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building (Bldg 151), SMBB First Floor
36 South Wasatch Drive, Rm. 1242
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84112
Facility: 801-587-8357
Office: 801-585-7550


Edward W. Hsu, Ph.D., Director
Facility: 801-587-8357
Office: 801-585-7550

Stewart Yeoh, Ph.D.
Lab Manager

Oversight Committee

The oversight committee for the Preclinical Imaging Core Facility consists of the following members and meets at least once a year.

Rob MacLeod, Ph.D. (Chair),
Rodger van Andel, DVM, Ph.D.,
Donna Cross, Ph.D.,
Edward DiBella, Ph.D.,
Edward Hsu, Ph.D.,
John Phillips, Ph.D.,