Recent advances in the instrumentation for medical imaging have produced miniaturized versions of x-ray, optical, radionuclear and magnetic resonance scanners for studies in small laboratory animals. This, coupled with increasingly sophisticated transgenic mouse models, is driving a revolution in the investigation of disease and developmental processes in vivo at the whole-animal level. This proposal requests funding for a high-throughput, high-resolution digital x-ray device to facilitate and improve interdisciplinary research using small animals. During the last several years, a Molecular Imaging Center has been established at USC with support over the last year from multiple awards from the NCRR and other NIH Institutes. The requested device will be housed and operated in the Center's Molecular Imaging Laboratory, where it will complement other shared-use devices purchased with previous awards from the NCRR, including small-animal PET, CT and optical imaging systems. The instrument chosen has numerous features conducive to efficient operation, including, digital acquisition and DICOM compatibility (essential for assimilation into our developing animals PACS system), accommodation of both small and large (eg. rabbit) animal examinations, rapid throughput, portability within the laboratory (mobile cart), and analytical software for bone density assessment (to be released by vendor 4/09). The requested digital x-ray device will be used by investigators in the fields of medicine, surgery, pathology, biochemistry/molecular biology, and dentistry. Addition of the requested instrument will increase the productivity of assembled PHS-funded investigators who are working in various areas of medicine. The discoveries and advancements made by these investigators will ultimately have a direct positive impact on public health.
We are requesting a digital radiography system for quantitative 2D x-ray imaging of small animals and excised tissue specimens. Because of the diverse needs of our user group, an imaging unit that offers high speed imaging, a wide range of image resolution for in vivo imaging in non-terminal animal experiments, and appropriate capabilities for high resolution imaging of in vitro samples is required. Animal research conducted with this instrument may translate into clinical research trials, with great public health implications.