Oncology Precision Therapeutics and Imaging Core/OPTIC (HICCC)

Overview of Services

The Cancer Center Small Animal Imaging Shared Resource assists Cancer Center Members in imaging-based studies. The ability to use image based studies for phenotypic characterization or functional analysis has become increasingly important for biomedical research.

The goal of Animal Imaging is to provide access to a broad range of in vivo imaging technologies including molecular imaging technologies such as optical imaging, quantitative physiologic imaging with ultrasound, and anatomic imaging with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Most importantly, we provide expertise in planning, executing and analyzing in vivo imaging studies.

Services include:

    Bruker BioSpec 9.4T Magnetic Resonance Imager

    VEVO 2100 Ultrasonic Imaging System

    VEVO 2100 Analysis Software (VevoCQ)

    IVIS Spectrum Bioluminescence and Fluorescence Optical Imaging System

    Living Image 4.4 Optical Imaging Analysis Software

Our newest mode of imaging is the 9.4 Tesla Bruker BioSpec Magnetic Resonance Imager, a fully shielded, superconducting wide-bore magnet that is nitrogen-free and super-cooled via a liquid helium reservoir. The MRI suite was specifically built to house this magnet and is actively shielded from stray radio frequencies to allow for more precise imaging and a higher signal-to-noise-ratio. It uses a state-of-the-art integrated, laser-guided rail system with water warmed exam beds to allow for homothermic continuity throughout the exam process. The Bruker BioSpec 9.4T MRI has the ability to perform a multitude of types of magnetic resonance imaging. Some of the applications listed below may require development time and/or collaborations with the imaging core and other scientists at CUMC. 

  • Anatomical Imaging
  • Cardiac Imaging
  • MR Spectroscopy
  • Functional MR Imaging

We also offer the VisualSonics Vevo2100 High Resolution Ultrasound System for small Animal Imaging. The method includes preparation of the animal for real time imaging, 2D and 3D image acquisition, and post-acquisition analysis of tumors volumes. The Vevo 2100 ultrasound system allows us to non invasively detect and measure abnormalities as well as to compare to normal tissue, thereby identifying the magnitude of the abnormalities. Of particular utility for cancer applications is the ability to use tomography to construct a 3D tumor volume, enabling longitudinal imaging studies to track tumor development, or response to therapies. Advanced applications offered include contrast ultrasonography, vascular assessment by power and/or color Doppler modes, and guided needle injection.

Post acquisition analysis on ultrasound scans is offered with the Vevo2100 Analysis software installed on a dedicated SAI SR computer for qualitative and quantitative assessments and measurements. Of particular utility is the definition of specific regions of interest for tomographic 3D reconstruction and accurate volumetric quantification of identified tumors, organs and tissue. In combination with power Doppler imaging, vascular perfusion can also be measured in these regions. VevoCQ software analysis of contrast ultrasonography experiments allows for even more thorough quantitative assessment of tissue perfusion and reperfusion. Targeted contrast agents can be co-registered with 3D reconstructions for accurate target localization.

The IVIS spectrum is an imaging technique that uses bioluminescent and fluorescent reporters that can render into a 3 dimensional view of the animal. This technique is non invasive and can be used for disease progression monitoring as well as observing gene expression patterns in vivo.

Experimental Design and Protocol Development

Usage of SAISR instrumentation and guidance from SAISR personnel are provided on a fee-for-service basis. We are happy to provide guidance, education, and assistance for any protocol or application that we have already developed. However, many users have specific needs that are not covered by existing protocols. The SAISR is pleased to offer a series of Development Project options in order to build these new applications on a collaborative basis. Development projects are initiated through a free initial consultation with a staff member in order to determine the project goals, experimental design, controls, and any technical limitations. 

To request a consultation for a development project, open the Request Services tab and click on Request Service.



Name Title Role Phone Email
Kenneth Olive Associate professor Director - Small Animal Imaging 212-851-4908 Kenolive@columbia.edu

Location and Hours of Operation


Staffed Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

                       Instruments are available 24/7



1130 Saint Nicholas Avenue

2nd Floor Office Room 200ST2 or 11th Floor Instruments and Labs

New York NY, 10032

Links and Resources



Name Role Phone Email Location
Christopher B Damoci
Manager / Imaging Scientist
Yanping Sun, Ph.D
Medical Imaging Physicist