Small Animal Imaging FAQ
1. How to deal with IACUC protocols for imaging study?
The imaging facility has a general animal IACUC protocol for a pilot study with conventional imaging procedures. Please discuss your imaging needs with the facility director to see if the core protocol can cover your pilot study. However, users need to amend your own IACUC protocol eventually to include imaging procedures into your animal protocol. Descriptions of imaging procedures are available upon request.
2. Do I need to provide my own contrast agent for imaging?
For most imaging modalities, users need to bring your own contrast agent. For PET or SPECT imaging, we can order the radioisotopes for you and the cost will be included in your monthly imaging bill. For MRI, currently we do provide conventional Gadolinium contrast agent (Gd-DTPA) for free, which might change depending on the availability in the future. If you don’t know what kind of contrast agent to use for imaging, please contact us for consultant.
3. Can I bring animals back to the housing facility after imaging?
Currently, only Taylor hall animal housing facility can accept animals from imaging facility. The imaging facility is treated as “dirty facility” to accommodate all the animals from different animal housing facilities at UNC campus. Animals will not be able to be brought back to a cleaner housing facility after imaging. Please discuss with DLAM about your need to house animals after imaging in other animal facility.
4. Is there someone to help me design and guide me through my study?
Yes, we do provide support on study design and experimental guidance. Please contact our staff for support when needed.
5. Is there support available for tail vein injection in imaging studies?
Yes, the facility staff will do the tail vein injection on small animals (mouse or rat) for imaging studies without additional cost.
6. Who does the imaging, me or staff from the imaging facility?
Depending on what kind of imaging you are planning to do. For optical and ultrasound imaging, users can operate the imaging systems after official training offered by facility staff. Staff supported imaging is also available for optical and ultrasound imaging studies. For MRI, PET, SPECT, and CT imaging, only facility staff can operate the system and conduct the imaging studies for you.
7. For PET and SPECT imaging, can I ask the imaging facility to order radioisotopes and conduct the synthesis in the facility?
Yes, the facility can order F-FDG, Cu-64, In-111, I-124, Tc-99m, and I-123. Please discuss your need of radiosynthesis with Dr. Hong Yuan.
8. Is there lab space for animal preparation and dissection after imaging study?
Yes, space is available for animal preparation and tissue collection procedures right after imaging. All these procedures have to be closely related to the imaging studies performed in the facility, and advanced notice is needed for these procedures.
9. Is there dose calibrator to measure radioisotope activity?
Yes, the facility has a dose calibrator that is good to measure radioisotope above 1µCi.
10. How do I get images after imaging study?
For optical and ultrasound imaging, you need to copy the image data right after experiment to CD, DVD, or USB drives. For MR imaging, all the data will be uploaded to a PACS server from which users can download data remotely. Account will be created for each PI on the PACS server. For other imaging modality, including PET, SPECT, CT imaging, image data will be placed on a disk and send to users. We do not send images through email.