Small Animal Ultrasound

Ultrasound has long been an extremely important tool in the practice of clinical medicine because it offers real-time imaging providing understanding of anatomy and physiology, is non-invasive and can be repeated serially.

The small animal ultrasound core laboratory has the capability to extend ultrasound imaging to mouse, rat, and other animal models with excellent spatial and temporal resolution. The facility has two state-of-the-art VisualSonics 2100 ultrasound machines, and probes that cover the spectrum from 9-70 MHz (standard human clinical ultrasound covers the spectrum from 2.5-12 MHz). These machines are capable of real-time 2D imaging as well as a full spectrum of Doppler techniques (pulsed-wave, color, tissue, power). One of the two machines is also capable of 3D imaging and contrast imaging (both targeted and non-targeted). Software is available for advanced image analysis of cardiac mechanics with speckle tracking that allows analysis of strain and strain rate. These tools allow near histologic resolution imaging of live animals, and are well suited to challenging applications such as the resolving the rapid heart rates of mice, or the microscopic size and function of early and mid-gestation embryos, and everything in between.

The core has capability for anesthesia and monitoring of mice and rats, and will support training your laboratory personnel in the design of protocols and the use of the equipment for acquiring images. An off-line image analysis station is also available for later review and analysis of studies.

Due to NIH policy, all users should acknowledge any Core used in the Acknowledgements section of publications. Automated checks are done of all the Acknowledgements section to determine what resources were used for publication. This information is used to determine grant funding for the entire institution. Please be sure to acknowledge us or any other Cores you use for your publications. Thank you for your support.

Ultrasound Imaging Access

The facility has two VisualSonics 2100 ultrasound machines and the capability to anesthetize by isoflurane for monitoring of mice and rats. The machines can image rabbits but the facility does not have anesthesia equipment appropriate for rabbits so labs using rabbits will need to establish an appropriate method of anesthesia. For University of Utah investigators there is a fee $35 per hour for use of the equipment. In order to access the equipment you will need submit a completed work authorization form and Core Administration will set up an account. A machine and probe(s) will then need to be scheduled using the Cores on-line scheduling system at Please schedule as soon as you know you will need to use our services so we are prepared to accommodate you. You can adjust scheduled time but if changing within 24 hours of a scheduled time you may not be able to be accommodated or may be charged for the time scheduled. Contact Core personnel for additional details about accessing equipment.

Training in Use of Equipment and Assistance with Experimental Design and Protocol Optimization

Our team can offer support training laboratory personnel in the design of protocols and the use of the equipment for acquiring and analyzing images. Ultrasound imaging performance by Core personnel is possible through collaboration and/or a additional fee for personnel time. Contact Core personnel to inquire about and schedule training.

Offline Image Review and Analysis

A PC computer workstation station is also available at the facility for later review and analysis of studies so analysis does not require time on the ultrasound machine itself. Analysis of acquired images can also be done on other PC computers but requires access to specific software like that found on the machines. Access to this software for a fee as used by the user available. Data can then be exported as mainly a TIFF or AVI. Users of the Core are responsible for removal of their data from the machines and storage. When needed Core personnel will ask users to remove their data or it will be removed by Core personnel. Contact Core personnel for more information.

Hours of Operation

Monday-Friday 8:30am-5pm


15 N 2030 East

Radiology Building 585, Room 158

Salt Lake City, UT 84112


Ying Li, Director
Office Phone: 801.585-0860


Mleynek, T.M., et al., Lack of CCM1 induces hypersprouting and impairs response to flow. Hum Mol Genet, 2014.