Vanderbilt University
Institute of Imaging Science

Center for Small Animal Imaging


Director: Mark D. Does
Phone: (615) 322-8352

Manager: Jarrod M. True
Phone: (615) 322-5045

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.

* New Project Request Form Here!


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.


* Click here for details for instruments (found on our scheduling page)


  • 0.5T (2.5cm bore) Maran Benchtop Relaxometer
  • 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) Varian with Dual channel, multinuclear for rat and mouse
  • 15.2T (11cm bore) Bruker BioSpec with cryoprobe for mice


  • 400Mhz vertical Bruker Avance III spectrometer for small molecule NMR


  • 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
  • Li-Cor Pearl for small animal optical imaging
  • VisualSonics high-resolution ultrasound system

Fully Equipped Animal Preparation, Operation and Monitoring Laboratory

Chemistry Laboratories

  • Synthetic chemistry (460 sq. ft.) for synthesis and characterization of small organic molecules, peptidomimetics and other imaging probes
  • Analytical chemistry and Molecular Biology (420 sq.ft.) for the analysis of synthesized probes or biomolecule screening
  • Molecular Biology for the isolation, purification and determination of DNA

Electronic and machine shops

  • Tools and software for design and bench testing RF coils