VUMC Institute of Imaging Science (VUIIS) - Center for Small Animal Imaging

Overview of Services

What we can do for you
Our center has in vivo and ex vivo imaging capabilities of small animals and tissue samples via magnetic resonance imaging, x-ray/X-ray CT, Positron emission (PET) and single photon emission and bioluminesence/fluorescence imaging.
We provide training for users on ultrasound and optical imaging and provide expert instrument operators for other modalities. We also provide expert support/training for data/image analysis.

The Center for Small Animal Imaging (CSAI) is a comprehensive resource of state-of-the art biomedical imaging instruments spanning a wide range of modalities, including MRI, X-ray/X-ray CT, PET, SPECT, ultrasound, bioluminescence and fluorescence. These instruments provide a means of quantitative and radiological evaluation of pre-clinical models of disease, including cancers and numerous neurological and musculoskeletal disorders. The CSAI also serves as a primary laboratory for many VUIIS faculty who are active in the development of imaging technologies, including instrument design, molecular imaging innovation, and novel imaging characterization of tissue micro-anatomy and function.



  • 4.7T (31 cm bore) Varian with dual channel, multinuclear for rats, guinea pigs and rabbits
  • 7.0T (16 cm bore) Bruker with single channel for rat and mouse
  • 9.4T (21 cm bore) Bruker Avance NEO scanner, multinuclear for rat and mouse
  • 15.2T (11cm bore) Bruker BioSpec with cryoprobe for mice


  • Siemens Inveon PET/CT for rodent and specimen imaging
  • Siemens MicroPET Focus 220 for small-animal and non-human primate
  • Bioscan NanoSPECT SPECT/CT for nuclear imaging of small animals)
  • Faxitron digital X-ray imaging system
  • Scanco microCT40 for high resolution 3D x-ray computed tomography of bone, soft tissues, and synthetic materials with a maximum specimen diameter of 36 mm and isotropic voxel size of 6 um – 80 um
  • Scanco microCT50 for high resolution 3D x-ray computed tomography of bone, soft tissues, and synthetic materials with a maximum specimen diameter of 50 mm and isotropic voxel size of 0.5 um – 200 um
  • Scanco vivaCT80 for in vivo x-ray computed tomography imaging of small animals with a maximum diameter of 90 mm and isotropic voxel size of 5 um – 360 um

Ultrasound, Optical

  • PerkinElmer IVIS Spectrum bioluminescent and fluorescent imaging system
  • Two CRI Maestro optical imaging systems for in vivo fluorescence
  • Visen FMT: Quantitative optical tomography in small animals
  • VisualSonics high-resolution ultrasound system

Fully Equipped Animal Preparation, Operation and Monitoring Laboratory


Director, Center for Small Animal Imaging:  Mark Does
Manager, Center for Small Animal Imaging: Jarrod True
Director, Small Animal Nuclear Imaging: Todd Peterson
For general questions or assistance:

Location and hours of operation

Hours Location

8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m                   

AA-1105 Medical Center North   

Links and Resources

Core Home Page (includes instrument descriptions)
New Project Request
Recommended citations for S10-funded instruments


Billing Number Activation

 VUMC Investigators with VUMC center numbers:
  All VUMC billing numbers are activated in iLab via a nightly feed from Workday. Grant Worktags are auto-assigned to the PI's lab group. All other funds (Cost Centers, Gift or Program Worktags) must be claimed within the PI's Lab Group.
 VU Investigators with VU CoA or POET numbers:
  VU users will manage the VU billing numbers via the webform on the VUMC Office of Research website
 Vanderbilt Investigators with VA (Veteran Affairs) funding: 
  Contact the VUMC Office of Research at to request access to your VA funding.  All investigators with VA funding are assigned a VA billing number (999999xxxx). The VUMC Office of Research manages VA billing numbers in coordination with the VA Research Administration.