Preclinical imaging

Opportunities for fundamental and translational research

The preclinical facilities at Sydney Imaging provide a wide range of modality options for healthcare researchers conducting in vivo studies for clinical translation.

Provides superior soft tissue contrast and molecular imaging capability. Pulse sequences include high-resolution anatomical imaging, fMRI, diffusion MRI, angiography spectroscopy, amoung many others. Sydney Imaging has two different preclinical MRI sacnners from MR Solutions, a 3 Tesla (MRS 3017) and 7 Tesla (MRS 7024).

Key features

  • High spatial resolution for greater visualisation and quantification
  • PET Insert for simultaneous PET/MR at 3T (resolution ~0.7 mm and an axial FOV of 5 – 10 cm)



3T (MRS 3017)

 7T (MRS 7024)

Field strength

0.1T – 3.0T (rampable)

0.1T – 7.0T (rampable)

Bore size




Elliptical: 100mm x 70mm

Elliptical: 154mm x 98mm


Over 30mm +/- 0.1ppm,
Over 70mm DSV +/- 1ppm

Over 42mm DSV +/- 0.1ppm, Over 84mm DSV +/- 1ppm

Gradient strength

X – 486 mT/m
Y – 470 mT/m
Z – 530 mT/m

X – 344 mT/m

Y – 332 mT/m

Z – 375 mT/m

Rx/Tx channels

2 to 16 / 1 or 2

4 to 16 / 2

The EchoMRI 900 is a high-throughput body composition analyser that employs magnetic resonance relaxation analysis for measuring fat tissue, lean tissue, free water and total water masses in alert models, weighing up to 900g. The system is easy to operate and ideal for longitudinal body composition measurements. Applications include obesity and nutrition studies.

Key features

  • Superior precision in delivering precise body composition measurements
  • No anaesthesia required
  • High-throughput instrument capable of less than 2 minute scan time per animal

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging is a powerful molecular imaging modality, which produces spatiotemporal quantitative 3D and 4D (3D+time) images of several physiological processes in vivo, such as metabolic activity and receptor occupancy/density. When combined with computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), high-sensitivity functional information of metabolic or biochemical activity can be superimposed (co-registered) with high-resolution structural images, adding precision of anatomical localisation to functional processes.

We are currently also establishing a radiochemistry facility at Sydney Imaging, to support radiotracer development.

Sydney Imaging users can access state-of-the-art imaging facilities and methodological expertise on experimental design, data acquisition and image processing. Available emission tomography imaging equipment includes:

Modality/Scanner Field of view (transaxial/axial) Spatial resolution Absolute sensitivity
MicroPET Focus220 (Siemens)
190mm/76mm 1.7mm (centre of FOV) 3.4%
I-402 PET insert (MR Solutions)
40mm/98mm 1.5mm (centre of FOV) 10.15%
Si78 (Bruker)
80mm/200mm 0.7mm (centre of FOV) 12.0%

DXA is a non-invasive technique which uses a small dose of ionizing radiation to image bone structure and mineral composition. The Faxitron Ultrafocus DXA system is capable of measuring bone mineral density, bone mineral content, and lean and fat mass percentages in small animal models. Applications include nutrition studies, bone implants, tumour growth, osteoporosis and ageing models.

Key features

  • Switch between X-ray imaging and DXA mode
  • Select from bone, lean, and fat tissue maps for detailed ROI DXA analysis


Energy range

10 - 100 kV

Sample imaging area

10cm x 15cm (4" x 6")

Pixel pitch


Spatial resolution

8µm at 6X geometric magnification 

Window filtration

0.25mm Be, tungsten source

Typical DXA analysis time

Less than 3 minutes

Sydney Imaging has two systems, one at the Charles Perkins Centre and the other at Kolling Institute. These include the Vevo F2 LAZR-X Multi-Modal Imaging system, which is the most advance hybrid micro-imaging system providing inherent co-registration of the photoacoustic signal with anatomical ultrasound imaging, providing anatomical, physiological, functional and molecular data. Applications include cardiology, vascular biology, oncology, developmental biology, neurology, biomarker/molecular imaging, tissue perfusion and contrast imaging.

Key features

  • Heated imaging stage with physiological monitoring (ECG, heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature), transducer mounting and injection system
  • Photoacoutic imaging with tunable lazer for multispectral mixing, oxygen saturation, haemoglobin content and contrast imaging
  • Expandable image processing options: Doppler modes, M-mode, 3D, contrast imaging
  • Advanced analysis software for cardiac function assessment, contrast imaging and tissue perfusion


Frequency range

13 – 70 MHz

Frame rate

Up to 1000 fps

Spatial resolution

Up to 30 µm


3 available linear array transducers:

MS700 – 30 – 70 MHz

MS550D – 22 – 55 MHz

LZ250 – 13 – 24 MHz (with photoacoustic capability) 


680 – 970 nm wavelength , 1cm tissue penetration, 75 µm resolution

The IVIS Spectrum CT is a multimodality imaging instrument capable of optical imaging (bioluminescence, fluorescence) and low dose CT for anatomical registration in small anaesthetised animals as well as ex vivo and in vitro samples. This technology offers longitudinal in vivo monitoring of disease progression, drug treatments and biomarker development. Applications include oncology, musculo-skeletal, cardiovascular, neurology, infectious diseases and respiratory research.

Key features

  • High throughput optical screening of up to five mice or three rats simultaneously
  • 3D optical tomography for fluorescence and bioluminescence with CT for anatomical registration
  • Living Image software for analysis of data, including spectral unmixing, wellplate quantification and ROI analysis
  • Integrated anaesthesia with heated chamber

Optical specifications

Max. field of view                              

23 x 23cm

Pixel size/Resolution

13.5 µm/29 µm

10 Narrow band excitation filters    

415 nm -760 nm (30 nm bandwidth)

18 narrow band emission filters     

490 nm -850 nm (20 nm bandwidth)


1.5x, 2.5x, 5x, 8.7x

Computed tomography specifications

Field of view                        

120 x120 x 30 (L X W X H, mm) to 20 X 2 X 20 (L X W X H, mm)

Voxel size

40 µm – 300 µm

Reconstruction time

40 – 150 sec

Limiting resolution

150 µm

Standard scan time                            

3.6 to 72 sarc

Standard scan dose                           

minimum of ~13 mGy

Micro-computed tomography (Micro-CT) is capable of generating 3D images of internal microstructure and morphology in living animals or materials (bones, soft tissues, composites) with high resolution.  Our MiLab MicroCT scanner offers non-destructive slice-by-slice scanning that can be reconstructed into 3D volumetric objects for quantitative analysis or visualisation. Applications include oncology, bone morphometry, cardiovascular research, respiratory studies, contrast agent development and materials science.

Key features

  • Non-invasive, low radiation dose scan
  • High throughput and high resolution
  • Integrated physiological monitoring and respiratory gating


Sydney Imaging

  • Brain and Mind Centre, 94 Mallet St, Camperdown, NSW 2006.
Sydney Imaging operates sites on and adjacent to the University of Sydney Camperdown campus at the Charles Perkins Centre and the Brain and Mind Centre, as well as at Royal North Shore Hospital and the Kolling Institute. Our headquarters are located at the Brain and Mind Centre.