Small Animal Molecular Imaging Lab

The Small Animal Molecular Imaging (SAMI) Laboratory is a core laboratory facility that supports research initiative across the Jefferson enterprise. It has the two-part mission of facilitating basic and translational research in which small animals play a role, and enhancing non-invasive diagnostics by investigating new types of radio biomolecules.

Lab Activities

SAMI monitors and records biological interactions at the molecular and cellular level in a living system and thereby allows longitudinal studies in the same animals without having to sacrifice scores of them to investigative autopsies. These animals can serve as their own controls and allow investigators to monitor molecular interactions in vivo that may up regulate or down regulate disease processes. In most cases this type of imaging requires animals to be injected with a radioactive biomolecule targeting a key biomarker that controls the disease process.

Currently, the facility includes microPET (positron emission tomography), microSPECT (single photon emission computerized tomography), microCT (computerized tomography), and optical imaging. Configurations of all micro-imaging devices limit the imaging of animals to mice and rats for full body imaging, and rabbits and small non-human primates for imaging of the head.

Lab members also conduct research aimed at refining current molecular imaging techniques in order to provide the most up-to-date resource for Jefferson's faculty. Much of this work occurs within the Laboratories of Radiopharmaceutical Research.