Small Animal Imaging


The Small Animal Imaging Shared Resource (SAISR) provides state-of-the-art in vivo imaging technologies and related diagnostic and radio-therapeutic services to JCCC and UCLA faculty, staff and students. The SAISR is a world-class, first-of-its-kind small animal imaging technology development and shared resources facility, providing JCCC investigators with technical imaging expertise and facilitating the design, execution and analysis of in vivo small animal imaging studies.

Our aims are:

  1. To provide and develop state-of-the-art small animal imaging technologies to address the evolving needs of JCCC researchers.
  2. To provide radiochemistry and radiolabeling services to support production of established PET tracers or development of novel tracers for investigator imaging studies.
  3. To support and train JCCC investigators in radiochemistry, preclinical imaging, and image analysis.

The SAISR offers full-service whole body microPET, microCT and optical imaging and complementary in vitro/ex vivo assays to measure tissue function and structure. Companion PET tracer radiochemistry and radiolabeling services are available in-house through the adjacent radiochemistry and cyclotron facility. Study design and development, training in imaging techniques, and staff assistance are offered regularly to all users free of charge. Please contact the SAISR at [email protected] to get started.

Mailing Address

Preclinical Imaging Technology Center
Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging
California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI)
2nd floor, Room 2112
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1770
(in the Court of Sciences)

Imaging Center: 310-794-2224; [email protected]
Arion Chatziioannou: 310-825-7877
Shili Xu: 310-825-7137


Preclinical Imaging Technology Center:
Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging:

In Vivo Imaging Services

Nuclear imaging

  • Positron emission tomography (microPET)
    • Static and dynamic whole body functional imaging
    • Extensive panel of radiolabeled small molecule PET tracers (readily available)
    • Peptide/protein radiolabeling service and workspace
  • Computed tomography (microCT)
    • Whole body anatomical imaging
    • Quick scan time for in vivo imaging (1-2min)
    • Down to 18.6 µm (specimen imaging) and 100 µm (in vivo imaging) resolution
    • Contrast enhancement of soft tissues such as lymph nodes, spleen, liver, heart, gastrointestinal, major blood vessels

Optical imaging

  • Bioluminescence, Fluorescence and Cerenkov imaging
  • Whole body, multi-animal imaging
  • Cell localization, target trafficking, longitudinal studies
  • BLI: D-luciferin substrate provided
  • FLI: multiple excitation/emission filters including near-infrared

MRI imaging

  • Aspect 1T preclinical MRI system(156 micron resolution)
  • ECG-gated cardiac MRI available

Complementary services

  • Routine productions of established PET tracers
  • Novel PET tracer consultation and development
  • Biologics radiolabeling
  • Toxicology of new PET tracers for IND submission (through UCLA DLAM)
  • Imaging-based pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics studies
  • Radiotherapeutic labeling (e.g. Lu-177, Y-90) and efficacy studies
  • PET tracer whole body biodistribution and dosimetry
  • PET tracer metabolite analysis
  • In vivo and ex vivo biodistribution studies of imaging agents
  • In vitro binding and uptake assays (e.g. radiolabeled PET tracers; fluorescent biomarkers)
  • In vitro and ex vivo (tissue or whole body) autoradiography
  • Quantitative image analysis and training
  • Image data processing and 2D slice or 3D volume renderings
  • DICOM formatting and archiving


In vivo imaging

  • GNEXT combined microPET/CT scanner (Sofie Biosciences)
  • Genisys 8 combined microPET/CT scanner (Sofie Biosciences)
  • In-house quick microCT scanner (CrumpCAT)
  • IVIS Lumina II bioluminescent and fluorescent optical imaging system
  • Maestro fluorescent imaging system with NIR imaging and spectral unmixing (CRi)

Sample imaging

  • High resolution (18 micron) CT scan of fixed tissues or samples

Radiochemistry and radiolabeling

  • Siemens RDS-111 cyclotron
  • multiple Sofie Biosciences ELIXYS FLEX/CHEM automated radiosynthesizers
  • Raytest Ginastar radio-TLC reader
  • multiple Knauer Smartline HPLC systems with Bioscan gamma detectors
  • multiple Capintec CRC-25 PET dose calibrators
  • Agilent gas chromatograph with mass spec detector
  • Iodination chamber
  • Cerenkov imaging system

Complementary instruments

  • Wizard 3" automatic gamma counter (Perkin Elmer)
  • Leica CM3600 XP cryomacrotome – whole body sectioning
  • Leica CM3050 cryomicrotome – tissue sectioning
  • FUJIFILM BAS-500 phosphor imaging system
  • Agilent 1100 HPLC with UV/Vis detector, Bioscan Flow-Count radiation detector and fraction collector
  • Cell culture facility: biosafety cabinet, incubator, microscope, centrifuge
  • Adams MHCT II whole blood micro-hematocrit centrifuge – blood separation
  • Microfuge 22R centrifuge (Beckman Coulter)
  • Isoflurane vaporizers, induction chambers, nose cones, and animal heating stations
  • Multiple BSL2-level biosafety cabinets and chemical fume hoods
  • Adjacent full-service DLAM vivarium and procedure room for mice and rats (through DLAM)


  • New investigators can contact the SAISR at [email protected] to discuss potential studies, experimental design, data analysis, and for questions or advice
  • After training, JCCC researchers can readily use the SAISR through secure keycard access around the clock
  • Experiments are generally performed by members of the investigator’s lab after SAISR training, with expertise and assistance from the SAISR faculty and staff
  • Animal housing facility: Adjacent to the Imaging Center is a barrier facility for housing animals before and after imaging with biosafety cabinets for procedures
  • The Imaging Center is fully certified by UCLA’s Office of Animal Research Oversight (OARO) and Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) for animal welfare and radiation, laboratory, biological and chemical safety procedures


Service JCCC Rate Per Unit
microPET/CTon Genisys8 $207 Hour
microPET on Iveon or Focus220 $135 Hour
microCT $73 Hour
Optical imaging (includes D-luciferin) $79 Hour
Usage of gamma counter, cryomacrotome, cryomicrotome, Fuji BAS phosphor imager, procedure workspace, etc. $31 Hour
Imaging staff assistance $48 Hour

List of Available PET Tracers

PET Probe Type Biological Application
[18F]FDG Glucose Glycolysis (oncology, neurology, etc.)
[18F]NaF Hydroxyapatite bone scan; cardiac calcification; oncology (e.g. prostate cancer bone metastasis)
[18F]FLT Thymidine (nucleoside analog) Proliferation; nucleoside metabolism (e.g. oncology, immunology)
[18F]FAC (and analogs) Deoxycytidine (nucleoside analog) Immunology (e.g. adaptive immune response; immunotherapies) oncology (e.g. treatment stratification of nucleoside analog prodrugs)
[18F]clofarabine Purine (nucleoside analog Immunology; oncology


Guanosine (nucleoside analog) Immunology; oncology
[18F]FHBG, FEAU, L-FMAU, FIAU (and analogs) Guanosine (nucieoside analog) Immunology; oncology
[18F]FDHT Testosterone Oncology (prostate cancer)
[18F]FDOPA Amino acid (phenylalanine) Neuroscience (dopaminergic) oncology: brain tumors
[18F]fallypride Dopamine receptor antagonist Neuroscience (dopaminergic)
[18F]FDDNP Ammonia Routinely for clinical imaging: neurology (e.g., Alzheimer's disease)
[11C]acetate Acetate Oncology (prostate cancer)
fatty acid synthesis
ImmunoPET (various radioisotopes)

Full antibodies and antibody fragments

Oncology, immunology, cell surface targets


Somatostatin analogs

Oncology (e.g., neuroendocrine tumors)


Somatostatin analogs

Oncology (e.g., neuroendocrine tumors)



Oncology (prostate cancer)



Oncology; glutamine metabolism

[18F]fluorobenzyl triphenylphosphonium ([18F]FBnTP)

Mitohondrial membrane potential


[18F]florbetaben Amyloid Neuroscience

Protein/Peptide Labeling

[18F]SFB Prosthetic group Peptide/protein labeling
[18F]FBAM Prosthetic group Peptide/protein labeling
[18F]FBEM Prosthetic group Peptide/protein labeling
[18F]fluorobenzaldehyde Prosthetic group Peptide/protein labeling
[18F]fluoroethyl-PEG3-azide Prosthetic group Peptide/protein labeling

Other Isotopes Can be Purchased from External Groups for Use at the SAISR


89-zirconium (89Zr) – 3D Imaging; Washington University St Louis
64-copper (64Cu) – Washington University St Louis
86-yttrium (86Y) – Washington University St Louis
124-iodine (124I) – 3D Imaging


177-lutetium (177Lu) – Oak Ridge National Laboratory
90-yttrium (90Y) – Perkin Elmer
111-indium (111In) – Nordion
125-iodine (126I) – Perkin Elmer
131-iodine (131I) – Perkin Elmer