The Department congratulates Hong Yuan, PhD, on her S10 Shared Instrumentation Grant, awarded by the NIH Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) in March 2020, for her project entitled, “Multimodal PerkinElmer IVIS-SpectrumCT imaging system for a preclinical imaging core facility.” This $590K grant funds installation of a preclinical imaging system (IVIS-SpectrumCT) to facilitate multi-modal optical/CT imaging research at UNC’s Small Animal Imaging (SAI) core facility, which Dr. Yuan leads.

Hong Yuan, Ph.D.
Small Animal Imaging Facility

The IVIS-SpectrumCT system is replacing the SAI core facility’s outdated IVIS-Kinetic imaging system. The multi-modal optical/CT imaging system provides more reliable, high quality and multimodal imaging service to biomedical researchers conducting funded projects in cancer, gene therapy, pharmaceutical science and other areas at the SAI core facility. The grant was supported by 17 Major Users and 3 Minor Users with over 26 NIH-funded projects.

Dr. Yuan notes optical imaging has been the most widely used in vivo imaging modality in preclinical research. It is highly sensitive and cost-efficient with high throughput. It is used heavily in cancer research, gene therapy, and pharmaceutical science. In recent years, the 10+-year-old main optical system (IVIS-Kinetic) has not sustained the UNC biomedical research community’s growing optical imaging needs due to its deteriorating camera performance, limited phasing-out vendor service, and lack of needed imaging features. Replacing the IVIS-Kinetic with a multi-model optical/CT imaging system will not only overcome the performance shortcomings of the outdated system, It also will provide much more enhanced imaging capabilities, such as higher sensitivity, enlarged field of view, improved reliability, and new imaging features.

Some newly available imaging features include 3D bioluminescence/fluorescence imaging, built-in CT capability, and spectrum imaging. The system’s 3D optical imaging will generate more precise spatial distribution information and enhanced quantitative signal measurement. Its built-in CT imaging additionally enables researchers to obtain 3D anatomical information and to register optical imaging with other imaging modalities like MRI and PET. The IVIS-SpectrumCT larger imaging field of view also provides higher productivity and efficiency. The enhanced fluorescence imaging is capable of imaging wider range of fluorescence spanning from 430-850 nm with a total of 28 emission filters in one filter wheel, enabling near-infra red imaging for various studies in drug delivery and nanomedicine development.

Dr. Yuan stated: “The requested imaging equipment will undoubtedly enhance our imaging capability and facilitate the growing needs on imaging from research programs across campus, including cancer research, pharmaceutical research and gene therapy research.”