The purpose of this application is to request funding for a Medipix All Resolution System (MARS) spectral micro-CT scanner from MARS Bioimaging (MBI), Ltd. This is the only instrument that collects photon-counting yet energy-discriminating raw data for micro-CT as opposed to the traditional micro-CT scanner that produces gray-scale images from data acquired with the energy-integrating detector without x-ray spectral information. The addition of the x-ray spectral dimension to the spatial resolution provides significantly more information. Such a true-color micro-CT capability is revolutionary, because it allows to determine what an object is made of in a chemically-specific fashion, and potentially turns x-ray micro-CT into a cellular and molecular imaging modality aided by functionalized probes. Hence, this cutting-edge instrument may facilitate or enable important pre-clinical studies. A dozen of investigators are supporting this initiative with major and minor user projects, all of which target innovative and ground-breaking biomedical research. Currently, there are only two active MARS instruments in the United States (one in University of Notre Dame, and one in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) as a loan). It is this instrument loaned to RPI that we will be purchasing if this application is favorably reviewed. We have outstanding expertise on the requested instrument and for its further development. We have prepared an excellent management plan. The PI of this proposal is a pioneer in x-ray CT/micro-CT especially x-ray photon-counting imaging, and actively collaborates with local partners GE Global Research Center and Albany Medical Center to translate methods, software and hardware into tools for biomedical applications. Especially, the PI has been in close collaboration with MBI over the past several years to improve the photon-counting micro-CT imaging performance. The Co-PI of this proposal has an outstanding record in administration of core facilities and multi-institution federally-funded instrument. The Bioimaging Core Facility Director is also on this project, who has outstanding experience in training core users and handling the day-to-day operations of a core facility. RPI has strong institutional commitments, financially and infrastructurally, for the requested equipment. The instrument being requested will be housed in the Bioimaging Core Facility in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) at RPI. CBIS is one of the most advanced research facilities in the world, with cutting-edge imaging capabilities and extensive management expertise. The mission of CBIS Core Facilities is to make high-end instrumentation accessible to research groups inside and outside RPI. Over the past four years ~95 RPI research groups and >20 non-for-profit institutions and corporate groups have been using CBIS facilities. All instrument reservation and usage tracking are done online, warrantying equal accessibility to all users. In summary, the requested equipment for the NY Capital Region will be widely utilized and well managed, and have a tremendous and lasting impact on biomedical research and translation.
We are requesting a cutting-edge Medipix All Resolution System (MARS) photon-counting micro-CT scanner. This instrument has a revolutionary performance over the current x-ray CT scanners, since it adds the x-ray spectral dimension to regular black-and-white micro-CT images, making them in true colors for much better material decomposition. There are urgent and important needs by a large number of NIH and other investigators to use this instrument for diverse biomedical research projects in New York State and beyond.