Dr's Hekmatyar and Qiao using the MRI

Advanced Translational Imaging Facility (ATIF)

at Petit Science Center, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

The use of small animal models to study normal development, progression of human disease, and treatment of human disease has become widespread in the scientific community. Traditional approaches to anatomical and physiological monitoring often rely on pathology on animals sacrificed periodically during a study. However, in many cases, analysis after sacrifice may not be the best choice. Fixed tissues prepared from euthanized animals may not accurately reflect metabolic states or transient interactions present in live animals’ tissues. In addition, many animals need to be observed at each time point of a longitudinal study to reduce the effects of population variations.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) of cells, tissue, organ, animals provide both in vivo and ex vivo imaging and detection of morphological and dynamic changes without depth limitation. It can also capture longitudinal events with improved quality of data and reduce the number of animals (3R, Reduction, Replacement and Refine) used.

A grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) with matching funding from Georgia State University, effort led by Dr. Jenny Yang has allowed the installation of a small animal imaging and spectroscopy system in the Atlanta Translational Imaging Facility (ATIF) in the Petit Science Center Building at the GSU. It provides MRI and MRS resources to GSU researchers and their collaborators. We have also established an imaging consortium to promote rapid translation of fundamental research to clinical applications by sharing resources and expertise, catalyzing the growth of a collaborative and coherent Atlanta translational research community.

The major work at GSU involves the use of small animal models for

  1. Development of new probes and imaging methodology for diagnosis, detection, and monitoring treatment of various diseases
  2. Understanding the molecular mechanism of human diseases such as CNS, cancer, fibrosis, obesity, and heart diseases
  3. Drug discovery for treatment of these diseases.