In This Section

A Comprehensive Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Integrated Small Animal Imaging Research Resource

Scientific Co-Directors: Chin-Tu Chen, PhD, and Brian Roman, PhD
Technical Directors: Lara Leoni, PhD (Overall iSAIRR); Xiaobing Fan, PhD (MRIS);
Jeffrey Souris, PhD (Optical Imaging); Heejong Kim, PhD (microPET/SPECT/CT); Marta Zamora, BA/AAS (Imaging Veterinary Technology)

The Integrated Small Animal Imaging Research Resource (iSAIRR) is a synergistically integrated infrastructure that offers a broad spectrum of imaging modalities and techniques for in vivo imaging of small animals and ex vivo imaging of tissue/organ specimens. The Facility’s goal is to provide UChicago investigators with state-of-the-art, quantitative multi-modality imaging technologies to advance in-vivo molecular and physiological research of a broad range of disease and cancer models to accelerate pre-clinical development of novel therapeutics. Currently, iSAIRR subcores feature magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy (MRIS); optical imaging; micro-positron emission tomography, single photon emission computed tomography, and computed tomography (microPET/SPECT/CT); and veterinary technology (IVT) support.


  • Consultation to assist users in planning and designing experimental procedures and animal imaging protocols
  • Instrument and procedural training
  • Processing of acquired raw data to produce reconstructed/processed images
  • Collaboration with the (Image Computing, Analysis, and Repository (ICAR) Facility to formulate special image analysis tasks
  • Magnetic resonance imaging and scanning of tissues, cells materials, and animal models of cancer and ex vivo surgical specimens to provide information on 3D anatomy, hemodynamic parameters, tumor oxygenation, energy metabolism, metabolic markers, calcium dynamics, etc.
  • Development and testing of new imaging contrast agents and new imaging methods
  • Hands-on optical imaging (fluorescence and bioluminescence) or optical imaging services to assess gene expression, protein-protein interactions, tumor growth, vascularization, etc.
  • CT, PET, and SPECT imaging of small live animals, tissues, cells, materials, ex vivo specimens, mummified or other specimens, including high-resolution detailed 3D anatomy by CT, quantitative metabolic imaging by PET, various functional/physiologic/molecular imaging using radiotracers by PET and/or SPECT
  • Animal preparation and handling, induction and maintenance of anesthesia, performance of animal surgical procedures, physiological monitoring and recording during imaging sessions, injection of imaging probes/drugs/other interventions, physiologic sampling and measurements,  catheter implantation, and inoculation of tumor cell lines