This proposal seeks funds to purchase a Sky Scan 1076 in vivo microcomputer tomography (microCT) scanner to be installed in the Penn State University (PSU) Social and Life Sciences Imaging Center (SLIC) at the University Park, PA, campus. This system will help several currently- funded NIH investigators as well as other researchers address challenging biomedical questions by allowing non-invasive assessment of anatomical structures, disease states, and treatments. The strength of the Sky Scan 1076 is its ability to acquire high resolution images (down to 9 mm) of live animals ranging in size from mouse to adult rat. This instrument will directly benefit the research of 14 different researchers spanning 8 departments and 5 colleges at PSU. Of these, 5 have current NIH funded projects that would make immediate use of the instrument and 9 others could use the system for pilot work directed toward future proposals. The data collection and experimental protocols of the funded NIH projects would benefit significantly from the acquisition and use of in vivo microCT, allowing more efficient techniques to be developed and more robust data to be collected. The funded NIH projects include: 1) Phenogenetics of Skull and Brain Integration in Craniosynostosis (R01DE018500-02);2) Molecular Mechanisms of Allergic Asthma Development (R01AI073955-01A2, R01AI065566-04, R01AI051626-07);3) Ah Receptor-Mediated Repression of Acute Phase Gene Expression in a Collagen Antibody Induced Arthritis Mouse Model (R01ES04869-20);4) Dynamics and Control of Neuronal Pattern Formation (R01MH50006-15, K02MH01493-10);and 5) CRCNS: Mechanisms of Wave Propagation in Neuronal Tissue (R01MH079502-01). Although high-resolution CT is available elsewhere on campus, no other system at PSU is capable of scanning live animals. In vivo microCT scanning provides many benefits over traditional high-resolution scanning for biomedical research. Principal among these benefits is the ability to track structures, diseases, or treatments longitudinally in the same individuals across extended periods of time. The microCT scanner will be a valuable addition to the imaging infrastructure at PSU that will allow for expanded biomedical research using both mouse and rat models. The integration of multiple imaging modalities offers significant opportunities for innovative and transformational research of relevance to many human health issues such as cancer, musculoskeletal, and metabolic diseases. In addition, together with the other imaging capabilities on campus, this instrument will allow for significant training and research opportunities for students.
This project proposes to install a high-resolution live animal imaging system at Penn State University to support current and future biomedical research projects on topics of significant importance to public health including asthma, arthritis, craniosynostosis, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, atherosclerosis, and obesity. The new imaging system will allow more accurate and powerful analyses to be conducted which will help improve diagnosis and treatment of these and other important health issues.