Current Mission of Lab
The mission of preclinical imaging is to promote the development and use of non-invasive molecular imaging technology by supporting service, research and teaching. These imaging modalities include positron emission tomography (PET), computer assisted tomography (CT), optical imaging methods and other emerging technologies. Radiopharmaceuticals for PET play a key role in the advancement of this technology. Using state of the art methods and appropriate quality control procedures, preclinical imaging designs and produces novel radiopharmaceuticals, which are suitable for animal and human use research. Advancements in imaging are carried out at preclinical imaging with an emphasis in five areas of research: 1. Biomarker Research and Development; 2. Radiopharmaceutical Production; 3. In Vitro Testing, Pharmacology and Neuroscience; 4. In Vivo Imaging in normal and disease models; and 5. Image Analysis and Quantitation.
Several investigators at UCI use the novel radiopharmaceuticals with appropriate approvals from UCI Institutional Committees. Efforts of preclinical imaging are funded by federal grants from National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and nonfederal resources. A state of the art Inveon dedicated PET scanner (DPET), a high-resolution Inveon CT scanner are installed at preclinical imaging using NIH grant support. Fluorescence imaging is being carried out using the scanner from Bruker (formerly Carestrean/Kodak). A Siemen’s HR+ whole body PET scanner is installed in preclinical imaging. Investigators from several departments (Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Neurology, Physiology & Biophysics, Neurobiology and Behavior, Medicine, Radiology, Cardiology and others) collaborate in research that includes neuroscience, diabetes, cardiology and oncology. Training of students is an active component in the mission of preclinical imaging. Students include: 1. Undergraduate students from School of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Public Health; 2. Graduate studies for Master’s and Doctoral degrees and Medical students, and 3. Fellows and Residents.
Areas of emphasis include 1. Neuroscience (schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, drug occupancy, substance abuse studies such as amphetamine, learning and memory using nicotinic receptors, Alzheimer’s disease AChEI drugs, mood disorders and others); 2. Diabetes such as imaging islet transplantation and pancreas and Obesity such as imaging brown adipose tissue ; 3. Cardiovascular studies such as imaging atherosclerosis and 4. Oncology such as imaging gliomas, lung cancer, histone deacetylase.
Fallypride is currently used for: Schizophrenia, Epilepsy, Tourette Syndrome, Psychosocial Stress, Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders. Optimization of psychotropic drug doses; Therapeutic Drug development; Study of substance abuse.
Preclinical Imaging offers unique opportunities for translational research. In addition to the capabilities of preclinical imaging, translational research is enhanced by collaborations with various Centers and Departments at UCI. Imaging instrumentation for brain PET, whole-body PET, whole body CT, MR and other modalities, in conjunction with the capabilities of preclinical imaging enable translational research from animal research studies to human studies. Efforts will continue in neuroscience and diabetes research, and areas of oncology and cardiology will be further expanded and enhanced because of prevailing interest in these areas at UCI. Multimodality imaging (PET, MR, Optical, SPECT, Ultrasound) will be an area of research which will be strengthened by ongoing work using other imaging resources at UCI.