The goal of this proposal is to secure funding for an in vivo ultrasound imaging system for small animal models (VEVO 2100, Visual Sonics, Toronto, Canada). This is a high-resolution in vivo ultrasound micro- imaging system designed specifically for non-invasive real-time studies of integrated anatomy and physiology in small animal models. The system offers spatial resolutions from 100 ?m to 30 ?m with depths from 36 mm down to 12 mm respectively, which represents the highest resolution available today. Moreover, the real-time imaging system allows for ultrasound-guided injections for delivery of biological reagents (micro particles, genes, siRNA, microRNA, and stem cells) to different organs in small animal models. This technology is not currently available at UC Davis. The proposed system will serve a large group of NIH-funded investigators. A unique feature of our research team is the diversity of its faculty. Our team members are at various stages of their careers and are members of multiple departments from five different schools/colleges (School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, School of Engineering, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and College of Biological Sciences). This group of investigators is involved in several multidisciplinary collaborative projects that include cardiovascular, vascular, pulmonary, renal, and central nervous systems research. The uses of small animal models, including genetically targeted models, have paved the way for major advances in Medicine during recent years. Indeed, these small animal models are critical for the preclinical studies of diverse classes of diseases including cardiovascular and vascular diseases, pulmonary diseases, cancers, and neurological diseases. The ability to directly quantify the anatomical and physiologic information at a high resolution from embryos to adulthood as well as the use of ultrasound-guided delivery of biological reagents will greatly advance our knowledge and translation of these models to the treatment of human diseases. This proposal will enable the application of non-invasive in vivo high-resolution assessment of disease models that will foster further collaborative translational research projects.
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