The Gerwin Small Animal Imaging Center in the CRB

High-throughput, Quantitative Bio-Imaging

Center Overview

The Gerwin Small Animal Imaging Center is located in the closed barrier facility of the Cancer Research Building (Rm 142 vivairum, Rm 146 imager). The center has been fully operational since December 2008. The goal of the imaging center is to provide UTHSC investigators and external users with a state-of-the-art system capable of measuring luciferase or near-red/infrared fluorophore signals generated from cells implanted into rodents.

The Caliper Life Sciences/Xenogen IVIS Lumina imaging workstation is the gold standard in small animal imaging preclinical research, with hundreds of cited publications (http://www.caliperls.com/products/optical-imaging/). The IVIS Lumina system includes a highly sensitive CCD camera, a light-tight imaging chamber, filter sets capable of detecting emission spectra from 515-805nm and complete automation and analysis capabilities through the LivingImage software package. An isoflurane gas anesthesia module is built into the bio-imager cabinet and is capable of simultaneously anesthetizing 3 mice or 1 rat. The average imaging time of live, anesthetized rodents is under 5 minutes per run, providing high throughput analysis of cohorts.

Use of the Xenogen system will provide investigators with a technology that reliably and reproducibly tracks cell growth and/or metastasis in living whole animals over time without the need to sacrifice animals at intermediate time points. Other applications include calculation of tumor volume before and after drug treatment, ex vivo imaging of various tissues post-animal sacrifice to confirm location of cell signals and the ability to rapidly quantitate changes in fluorophore or luciferase reporter expression in cells cultured in standard microplates.

The UTHSC Viral Vector Core has generously created and produced reporter lentiviruses that are now available for purchase "off the shelf" by investigators with approved rDNA protocols. Lentiviruses have been produced that express the latest generation of firefly luciferase, Luc2 (Luciferase 2) or that co-express the optimized bio- imaging fluorophore mKate2. Availability of these reagents will assist investigators with an interest in bio-imaging in modifying their cells of interest with the reporters compatible with the Xenogen technology. For more details, please contact Dr. Junming Yue.

Service Fees and Procedures for Use

The imaging center operates as a fee-for-service recovery center under the auspices of both the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research and Dr. Lawrence Pfeffer, Muirhead Professor of Pathology and Director of Research for the Center for Cancer Research.

The general fee structure through June 30, 2010 will be $125/hr for equipment training or use, $10/hr for use of the anesthesia module and $100/hr for consultation after 1 hour of complementary consultation with Dr. Seagroves. In addition, the core will provide at a substantial discount sterile aliquots of the D-luciferin reagent necessary to activate the luciferase signal prior to bio-imaging.

Investigators who are interested in using the Gerwin Small Animal Imaging Center at the CRB must: 1) meet requirements for housing animals in the CRB facility, which is a closed barrier facility, 2) receive approval from the UTHSC IACUC to include animal imaging procedures in their relevant animal protocols and 3) receive training in use of the anesthesia module by Department of Comparative Medicine staff. Please note that no infectious agents are permitted in the CRB facility.

Gerwin Imaging Core Contact Information

Tiffany N. Seagroves, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pathology, Director
Rm 262 CRB, 448-5018, tseagro1@uthsc.edu.
Dr. Seagroves is responsible for maintaining the facility, managing the anesthesia system and consulting with users about experimental design.

Richard C. Cushing, B.S., Senior Research Assistant, Dept. Pathology, Seagroves' laboratory
Rm 275 CRB, 448-5019; rcushing@uthsc.edu.
Mr. Cushing is responsible for all hands-on training, supervision of facility users and the preparation of D-luciferin stock solutions.

FY09-FY10 Fee Structure

  UTHSC External
Consultation on experimental design/hr
(1st hour free)
$100.00/hr $147.00/hr
Equipment Training/hr $125.00/hr $185.00/hr
Equipment Runs/hr $125.00/hr $185.00/hr
Anesthesia Charges $10/hr $15/hr
D-luciferin reagent $20/aliquot $30/aliquot

D-Luciferin was purchased in bulk by the CRB from Caliper Life Sciences at a discount price and will be provided to the investigators in pre-made, sterilized aliquots.

Each aliquot will provide enough reagent to inject ~8-13 mice, depending on body weight.

Prepared 11/30/09 by:
Tiffany N. Seagroves, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pathology