Biomedical Research Tower
The Ohio State University
460 W. 12th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210-1252

General Questions:

State-of-the-Art Animal Imaging Laboratory

The Small Animal Imaging Core (SAIC) at the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute is a comprehensive small animal imaging facility available to investigators at The Ohio State University and other academic and commercial institutions. This facility includes high resolution imaging equipment (MRI, ultrasound and optical), X-ray irradiator, personnel trained in the operation of each imaging modality and small animal handling procedures, as well as analytical software support for quantitative image analysis. In addition to providing interim animal housing for serial imaging studies, the SAIC also offers on-site suites for surgical procedures, and animal care provided by the University Laboratory Animal Resources. Image reconstruction, multi-modality fusion, quantitative image analysis, high resolution graphics and networking to the facility's server are also available.

Equipment and Services

The Small Animal Imaging Core lab houses high-resolution small animal imaging instrumentation and offers assistance from experts in: 
  • Operating each imaging modality
  • Small animal handling procedures 
  • Analytical software support for quantitative image analysis

 The following micro-imaging equipment includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), high-frequency ultrasound (US), bio- and fluorescence imaging system (BLI) and body composition analyzer (echoMRI). CT and therapeutic x-ray (SARRP) system is available for localized radiation.

All imaging instrumentation comes fully equipped with biological (ECG, respiration, temperature) monitoring equipment and isoflurane anesthesia systems. The instrumentation can be used for in vivo live animal imaging or ex vivo specimen investigations.

The BioSpec 94/30 Imaging System is a 9.4T horizontal bore magnet that operates at 400 MHz and runs ParaVision™ 4.0 and 5.1 software. This microMRI system is designed for high-resolution MR spectroscopy and imaging of in vivo or ex vivo specimens.

The 30 cm diameter bore and extra long table offers imaging capabilities of 1H, 13C, 19F, 23Na, 31P on mice, rats, small rabbits and ex vivo specimens. The BioSpec also includes a BioTrig monitoring unit and in vivo cardiac gating.

MRI applications include:

  • Skeletal and soft tissue abnormalities in embryonic and adult specimens
  • DCE-MRI for tumor vascularization and permeability
  • In vivo spectroscopy to measure metabolites
  • Cardiac imaging for assessing cardiac function, ischemia and infarcts

The Vevo 2100 High-Frequency Ultrasound System is capable of 2D and 3D in vivo imaging in small animals, has a 30-micron spatial resolution and frame rates of up to 1000 fps. The system includes an 18, 24, 38 and 55 MHz transducer, needle-guided injection apparatus and is capable of color, pulsed wave and power Doppler, 3D imaging and advanced image analysis.

The Vevo can be used for:

  • Image-guided injections
  • Evaluating developmental biology – mouse and rat embryos
  • Calculating tumor size and blood flow
  • Quantitative evaluation of cardiac physiological function and development   

Optical imaging system IVIS Lumina II with bioluminescence (BLI) and fluorescence capability (FL). The IVIS system is equipped with four major emission filters (GFP, DsRed, Cy5.5, ICG) and 10 excitation filters in a range of 415-760 (30 nm bandwidth each).

Optical imaging application includes:

  • Tumor progression using transfected cells (BLI)
  • Tumor response to therapeutic intervention (BLI)
  • Development of immunological response (BLI or FL)
  • Angiogenesis monitoring (FL)

CT and Therapeutic X-ray (SARRP) delivers clinically relevant radiation protocols under preclinical conditions. The SARRP system can deliver radiation dose locally with open field vary from 0.5 small focal spot to 10*10 mm window.

The SARRP system can be used:

  • For local tumor treatment with minimalized dose to whole body or individual organs
  • To sensitize lesion to different treatment
  • To study skin wound, etc.

EchoMRI Analyzer delivers precise body composition measurements of fat, lean, free water and total water masses in live animals. Scanning takes 0.5 – 3.2 minutes. The live animals need no anesthesia and no special preparation before measurement.


SAI Core Director

Kimerly A. Powell, PhD, is an assistant professor of biomedical informatics. With more than 15 years of experience in developing image post-processing techniques for quantitative image analysis of microscopy, pre-clinical and clinical images, Dr. Powell also focuses on developing image post-processing techniques for quantitative image analysis of cancer, cardiac and musculoskeletal applications. She is particularly interested in developing novel image post-processing techniques for high-resolution microscopy and small animal in vivo micro-imaging technologies.
Office: 204 Biomedical Research Tower
Phone: 614-292-7271

Imaging Research Scientist

Anna Bratasz, PhD, is an imaging research scientist for the SAIC. She has spent the past seven years working in the SAIC where she focuses on in vivo MRI, US and optical imaging of small animals. Dr. Bratasz is an expert in evaluating the redox status, thiols and spatial distribution of oxygen concentration in tumors as well as in developing noninvasive measurements of oxygen concentration and mechanisms of drug resistance in tumors.
Office: 206 Biomedical Research Tower
Phone: 614-688-8068

Laboratory Service Coordinator 

Michelle Williams, BS, is the laboratory services coordinator for the SAIC. She has over nine years of imaging experience in microCT, nuclear and optical imaging. Her specialities includes injections, radiation safety and imaging using multimodality platforms such as PET\CT, FLI and BLI. She also has experience in developing refined contrast protocols for tumor perfusion studies on ultrasound and CT. She is the primary support personnel for radiation oncology studies using the SARRP and is expanding her imaging expertise to include MRI and US.
Office: 206 Biomedical Research Tower
Phone: 614-688-8068

SAIC Research Labs

0084 BRT
9.4T MRI

Horizontal bore magnet at 9.4T strength capable of taking measurements in animals including mice, rats and rabbits up to 3 kg.
0020 BRT

The IVIS Lumina II optical imaging system has sensitivity range between 300 and 900 nm for bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging.

X-ray irradiator for localized treatment.
0020A BRT

The Vevo 2100 system is high frequency ultrasound system for in vivo applications.

0090E BRT


This room is designated for animal preparations and surgical procedures.
EchoMRI is a Body Composition Analyzer (fat vs lean tissue).

More +


  • Provide high quality micro-imaging data to investigators in an efficient and cost effective manner
  • Provide accurate qualitative image interpretation and quantitative image data analysis
  • Develop and implement novel micro-imaging protocols for cardiac, cancer and neuroscience research applications
  • Educate and train investigators on available micro-imaging technologies that will enhance their research programs
  • Identify new and emerging micro-imaging technologies that will benefit investigators

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