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There is increasing interest in applying sophisticated imaging techniques in preclinical studies as a means of validating biomarkers of progressing disease or as a strategy that permits the conduct of longitudinal investigations without intermediate necropsies.

Our team at Preclinical Research Services has broad experience with all imaging modalities commonly used in rodent and nonhuman primate investigations (see below: PET, CT, and MRI). We have also optimized additional modalities (see below: MEG, IVUS) for CNS and cardiovascular endpoints, especially in nonhuman primates.

Imaging Modalities


Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Program for Medical Ultrasound has a 40-year history as a leader in ultrasound education and research. Today, our scientists and physicians collaborate on new innovations for ultrasound in point-of-care use, imaging and the capability to deliver advanced therapeutic applications. We have expertise in ultrasound imaging for both preclinical and clinical trials:

  • Protocol development
  • Experimental design
  • Core ultrasound lab with application-specific instrumentation, registered sonographers and sonographer training for multicenter trials
  • Translational research on atherosclerosis-related vascular disease
  • Translational research on cardiovascular disease and aging
  • Medical device testing using a variety of animal models including nonhuman primates
  • Pharmaceutical trials

Computed Tomography (CT)

  • A Toshiba, 32-slice Aquilion CT Scanner dedicated to preclinical imaging. It has a gantry speed of 0.5 seconds and is equipped with cardiac gating. All image data is networked to the TeraRecon image analysis system for investigators.
  • A GE 16-slice PET/CT Discovery ST 16 Scanner, which has 24 detector rings that provide 47 contiguous image planes over a maximum 70 cm transaxial field of view with CT attenuation correction. Axial spatial resolution of this scanner is 3.27 mm at the center of the gantry. Data acquisition modes include static, dynamic, whole body and gated. The room where this scanner is housed comes equipped with anesthesia gases and exhaust for scavenging the gases. There is a dedicated viewing area to interpret scans and a data analysis room. In addition, a dedicated research PACS for PET has been created to store PET data in DICOM format (images and raw data).

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

  • A Siemens SKYRA 3T MRI Scanner with TIM Technology, which is operated by dedicated MR-registered technologists. The technologists have experience in all aspects of MR imaging research as well as with a variety of preclinical imaging techniques. The facility is equipped with all necessary supplies, including resuscitation equipment.

7T MRI Facility

  • The 7T Facility is located on the basement level of the Nutrition Research Building. This facility houses a Bruker Biospin 7T microMRI scanner which can provide preclinical imaging for a variety of platforms with sub-0.1mm resolution. The 7T is staffed with experts in a number of cutting-edge imaging techniques, including magnetically labeled cell tracking, cardiac and atherosclerosis imaging, proton spectroscopy, and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI).

Magnetoencephalography (MEG)

  • A CTF MEG 2005 model instrument is equipped with 275 first-order axial-gradiometers and has the capability of simultaneous acquisition of 64-channel EEG. All necessary infrastructure for conducting preclinical studies is available, including anesthesia equipment and all necessary supplies.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

  • A GE 16-slice PET/CT Discovery ST Scanner operated by a Nuclear Medicine registered technologist.
  • A GE PETtrace 10 Cyclotron that allows fast, easy, efficient in-house production of radioisotopes for all of our clients’ needs.
  • Two organic chemistry laboratories and a radiochemistry laboratory that provide support for the conception and design of novel radiopharmaceuticals for use in PET imaging, as well as a laboratory containing a Varian Analytical HPLC (attached with UV and radioisotope detectors) and a Packard Cobra II auto-gamma counter for metabolite analysis.

Vevo LAZR Photoacoustic Imaging

Photoacousting imaging integrates the sensitivity of light-based imaging with the resolution of high-frequency sound waves to provide never-before-seen insights into living tissue cellular environment and flow of blood. It produces the non-invasive functional, anatomic and visual information needed to assess potential treatments for the major diseases that affect people around the world. Potential applications include:

  • Quantification of oxygen saturation and hemoglobin content
  • Microvascular hemodynamics in real-time
  • Molecular and cellular imaging
  • 3-D volumetric acquisition
  • Vevo Multiplexer tool to detect signal from multiple sources and co-register to anatomy
  • Longitudinal monitoring for therapeutic interventions in the same animal over time
  • High sensitivity, high specificity, real-time 3-D imaging
  • Spectro functionality for characterization of photoacoustic signal throughout the 680-970 nm range
  • 3-D thresholding for optimized signal intensity during data analysis
  • Vevo Color for differentiating various anatomical targets

Imaging Bioinfomatics

The Imaging Bioinfomatics section at the Center for Biomolecular Imaging provides all the tools you need to view your images and quantify your data for accurate analysis. It includes 3 TeraRecon AquariusNET servers, which provide distributed 2-D/3-D/4-D real-time rendering and visualization on any windows PC via local network and can concurrently 3D render ~27,600 images in real-time. These servers can also render images from any modality in 3D from a stack of 2D DICOM images and provide image fusion and JPEG and AVI outputs. Other image analysis software includes OsiriX 3.7.1, Mimics 13, Amira 3.1, ImageJ 1.4.3, LCModel 6.1, MIPAV 4.0.2 and Autodesk Maya 9.

Ready to take the next step? Schedule a meeting with Wake Forest Innovations or contact us at or call +1.336.713.1111.