- UMass Small Animal Imaging Core Renovation The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) is applying for funds to relocate and renovate space for its current Small Animal Imaging Core (SAIC). The current SAIC is an important component of the school's research efforts but it is located in a single 313 ft2 room on a general circulation corridor, outside of the animal facility. The size and location of the current SAIC hinders longitudinal (repeated) imaging studies and has prevented UMMS from performing ABSL-2 imaging for important infectious disease research. The SAIC houses a SPECT/CT, PET, Maestro EX and a Li-Cor near infrared imager. The latter is kept on a cart and moved to a workable location with the SAIC when needed. Because of a lack of space within the SAIC an IVIS 100 optical imager is kept in a small room within the animal facility along with the Maestro EX optical imager. Additionally, the current SAIC has no separate room for radionuclide preparation and storage;there is inadequate animal preparation space, and no space for expansion. With a rapidly growing faculty and national recognition for research excellence an expanded molecular imaging program is necessary to support the school's ongoing and future research programs. UMMS proposes to remedy these deficiencies by relocating and renovating the SAIC to a 1553 net ft2 area within its A-Level animal facility. The A-Level animal facility is the school's only animal facility with ABSL- 2 and ABSL-3 animal housing. Although mouse housing space is at a premium and the proposed space will displace mice, the Albert Sherman Center, a newly opened research and teaching building, has adequate animal housing space for the displaced animals.
The Specific Aims are, and will be accomplished by: 1) Relocating the SAIC away from general pedestrian traffic to a location within the A-Level animal facility. 2) Providing sufficient space to accommodate all the current imaging equipment and having contiguous space for future expansion. 3) Providing adequate space for animal preparation, radioisotope preparation and storage and ABSL-1 and ABSL-2 animal housing. This will allow for ABSL-2 imaging in single and longitudinal studies. 4) Provide for a limited amount of equipment needed to implement Aims 1-3. This relocation and renovation of the SAIC, if funded, will support important ongoing research at UMMS, including those of the Advanced Therapeutics Cluster, Gene Therapy Center, RNA Therapeutics Institute, Center for Stem Cell Biology &Regenerative Medicine, Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Cancer Center, Center for AIDS Research, Center for Comparative Neuroimaging, Center for Infectious Diseases &Vaccine Research, Diabetes &Endocrinology Research Center (DERC), Institute for Drug Resistance, and the Program in Gene Function &Expression.