We are requesting funds to purchase a VisualSonics Vevo 2100 ultrasound imaging system for incorporation into the small animal Ultrasound Imaging Core at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), an original awardee of the Clinical and Translational Science Award. VisualSonics is the only company in the world that manufactures high-resolution ultrasound imaging modalities targeted specifically to research animals. The newly introduced Vevo 2100 is a revolutionary, state of the art high-resolution ultrasound imaging system specifically designed for research animals. The Vevo 2100 has several enhancements over the earlier Vevo 770, including linear array transducers (probes), strain imaging, tissue doppler imaging, pulse wave Doppler, color Doppler, power Doppler, 3D reconstruction, contrast imaging, and contrast perfusion imaging. These new modalities provide unparalleled, revolutionary advancements regarding all aspects of non-invasive longitudinal cardiovascular imaging in particular, and small animal imaging in general. The Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute (Aab CVRI) at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) currently has over three years experience operating a Vevo 770 in cardiovascular projects, including our Program Project Grant (B Berk, PI). This instrument is heavily used by investigators both within the Aab CVRI and throughout the URMC, and is near capacity. Due to the increased demand for non-invasive imaging of small animals, the current instrumentation within the URMC is no longer adequate. The Vevo 2100 provides unique imaging capabilities that are unavailable with the Vevo 770. To broaden access to the transformative nature of small animal ultrasound imaging, the current Vevo 770 will be upgraded using already committed institutional funds, and will be moved to the main URMC campus where it will broaden the availability of ultrasound imaging to a cadre of well funded investigators with well-established interest and expertise in ultrasound imaging. The availability of both machines will serve to expand the availability of high-resolution ultrasound imaging while at the same time expanding our imaging capabilities. The Vevo 2100 will housed in the Aab CVRI Surgery/Imaging Core under the hospice of the institutional Ultrasound Core. Within the Aab CVRI, the Vevo system is utilized, run and managed by a group of 18 well-funded PhD and MD investigators with extensive ultrasound imaging experience. In addition, well-trained support staff are in place to run the machine and to train new users of both the Vevo 2100 and Vevo 770. In summary, the transformative nature of the Vevo 2100 and expanded availability of small animal ultrasound imaging would not only maintain both the Aab CVRI and URMC at the cutting edge of translational research, but would further enhance our ability to attract the best and brightest cardiovascular investigators, produce sought-after trainees with cutting edge training and marketable skills, and foster continued, long-term growth of both the Aab CVRI and URMC funding and faculty, creating opportunities for numerous individual R01s and Program Project Grants across multiple disciplines.
Advanced small animal ultrasound imaging permits non-invasive tissue imaging, enabling enormous refinement in investigational methods that can also reduce the numbers of animals used. The Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute has an established ultrasound-based research program that will take full advantage of the VisualSonics Vevo 2100, a new state-of-the-art instrument. In a cost-effective expansion of ultrasound imaging to the entire University of Rochester Medical Center, the existing instrument will be upgraded and relocated to the main medical center campus, thus transforming both cardiovascular research and existing research programs in cancer, musculoskeletal disease, lymphatic dysfunction, and fetal malformation.
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