Small Animal Imaging Facility

Computed tomography image of a mouse


The SVM Small Animal Imaging Facility is located near the research animal housing facility of the Division of Laboratory Animal
Medicine.  The Small Animal Imaging Facility provides imaging support services for investigators, including

  • Assistance in experimental design
  • Conducting animal studies, including anesthetization, imaging acquisition, and recovery
  • Processing and interpreting imaging data

The goal of the Small Animal Imaging Facility is to provide state-of-the-art noninvasive imaging support to investigators who use small animal models in their research. The Small Animal Imaging Facility welcomes users from all areas and interests. We can support investigators at LSU, as well as from outside institutions.



spectral system

In vivo optical imaging is a molecular imaging technology that uses light-emitting agents to visualize and measure physiological and biological processes within small live laboratory animals such as mice and rats.  

The SPECTRAL Ami system from Spectral Instruments is capable of acquiring quantitative optical images from a diverse set of sources including well plates, plants, and small animals.  The imaging system contains a high performance cooled CCD camera to record the image collected by a large aperture lens with automation for filter and field of view selection.  Luminescence, fluorescence, and photographic modalities are combined into the system.

Excitation LED Wavelengths include: 430, 465, 500, 535, 570, 605, 640, 675, 710, and 745nm.

Emission Filters include: 490, 510, 530, 550, 570, 590, 610, 630, 650, 670, 690, 710, 730, 750, 770, 790, 810, 830, 850, and 870nm.

Optical imaging is fast and easy to perform and is relatively inexpensive compared to the other molecular imaging modalities.  The SPECTRAL Ami can be used in oncology research to follow disease progression, to detect metastasis from primary tumors, to accurately quantify tumor burden, and efficiently monitor responses to therapeutic treatments longitudinally.  Other uses include infectious disease, inflammation studies, metabolic disease, neurology, gene therapy, stem cell biology, cardiovascular disease, immunology, transplantation biology, and drug metabolism.

Triumph II SPECT/CT System

Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) is an in vivo molecular imaging technology that uses the direct emission of gamma rays from inside the research subject to visualize and measure biological processes within living animals.  In vivo X-Ray Computed Tomography (CT) is a molecular imaging technology that uses X-rays emitted from a focused radiation source and sensed by a detector. Micro-CT imaging can provide anatomical visualization of bone and soft tissue (using contrast agents). 

The Triumph II SPECT/CT System from TriFoil Imaging combines both modalities for the ability to capture two types of images in small animals at the same time.  The SPECT Subsystem uses solid-state Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) detector technology for detecting a wide gamma-ray energy range of 25-250 keV.  This range covers a variety of isotopes (e.g. 99mTc, 123I, and 111In), and is capable of simultaneous multi-isotope imaging.  The CT Subsystem has flexible zoom capability to perform a broad range of in-triump CTvivo scanning, including whole body imaging in less than a minute.

Small animal SPECT can provide 3-dimensional spatial distributions imaging agents or therapeutics.  Drug candidates, cells or biomarkers can be labeled with a gamma-emitting radioisotope and then injected into a study subject to determine the location and concentration.  Also, the SPECT image can be fused with an X-Ray CT image to provide anatomical correlation.

For more information please contact


Kenneth "Kip" Matthews, PhD, DABR

Associate Professor of Physics


Department of Physics and Astronomy