In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (ICMIC)
The National Cancer Institute has awarded a $7.5 million grant to VUIIS and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center to establish a new In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center. The ICMIC will provide enhanced scientific and technical resources to develop innovative molecular imaging studies of cancer biology and to advance translational imaging research in cancer care. Specifically, this research will focus on the development and application of sensitive new imaging probes and allow researchers to assess how specific in vivo molecular signal transduction pathways, as well as physiologic changes caused by changes in these pathways, are modified by cancer and cancer therapy.
This grant supports an outstanding team of investigators from several disciplines, as well as several specialized resources (cores). Four major research projects are:
- Molecular Imaging of EGFR-axis Targeted Treatment in Colon Cancer
- Imaging Tumor Expression of Cyclooxygenase-2
- Noninvasive Assessment of Cancer Responsiveness to therapy by use of Recombinant Peptide Ligands
- Proteolytic Beacons in the Non-invasive Assessment of Response to Cancer Therapy
Bioengineering Research Partnerships (BRP)
Many of todays biomedical problems are best addressed using a multi-disciplinary approach that extends beyond the traditional biological an clinical sciences. Bioengineering integrates principles from a diversity of technical and biomedical fields and crosses the boundaries of many scientific disciplines represented throughout academia, laboratories, and industry. The creativity of interdisciplinary teams is resulting in new basic understandings, novel products, and innovative technologies for addressing biomedical problems.
We have created a partnership that has brought together a multidisciplinary group of experienced investigators from different parts within Vanderbilt University, as well as a team based at the University of Texas South Western. This research is focused around a state-of -the-art 7 Tesla human MR system, and will develop novel technical solutions and scientific capabilities that in turn will provide new insights into brain structure and function. Projects included are aimed at optimizing the information from structural imaging, fMRI, DTI and proton MRS.
Small Animal Imaging Resource (SAIR)
SAIR is dedicated to providing scientific and technical resources and support for non-invasive imaging of small animal models of cancer in vivo. VUIIS houses a Center for Small Animal Imaging (CSAI) which has equipment and personnel that supports investigators from within the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center as well as other departments and neighboring institutions. The use of in vivo imaging is a valuable and essential tool in diverse studies of tumor biology, especially in rat and mouse models, and a variety of anatomic, physiologic, pathologic and metabolic information can be obtained non-invasively from intact animals in serial studies. VUIIS is proud to have CSAI available and the funding provided from SAIR allows for these research programs to be available.
R25 - Pre-Doctoral Training Grant
VUIIS is a participant in a pre-doctoral education and training program in Cellular and Molecular Imaging of Cancer at Vanderbilt University and MeHarry Medical College. There is a critical need for scientists working at the interface of the physical and biological science to be trained in the ability to make the connections between imaging and basic biological processes in cancer. This need is addressed within this pre doctoral training grant with the use of a comprehensive didactic education and research training program designed for 10 outstanding pre-doctoral scientists. Combining resources and programs of VUIIS, the Vanderbilt -Ingram Cancer Center, and the Cancer Center at Meharry Medical College we believe we provide an outstanding infrastructure and personnel to create a leading, exemplary training program in cancer imaging.
T32 - Post-Doctoral Training Grant
VUIIS holds a post-doctoral training grant in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS). MR methods are well established as amongst the most powerful and widespread of biomedical imaging techniques yet major advances in technology, and increases in their scientific impact, continue to grow. MR methods have become not only the single most important modality in diagnostic radiology, but also are used in basic and clinical research to provide crucial insights into many aspects of biological structure and function that address fundamental biomedical research questions. The post-doctoral training program aims to provide a comprehensive training in most major aspects of MR in biomedicine incorporating faculty from all relevant specialities. One primary aim is to provide an adequate experience for recent graduates of the physical and quantitative science without prior experience in MR. Our own experience confirms that outstanding scientists from backgrounds such as physics, chemistry and engineering make outstanding MRI scientists after appropriate postdoctoral training. The presence at our institution of multiple laboratories using diverse animal models, and the research strengths of many leading clinical scientists at Vanderbilt, greatly enhance the learning environment and speed the diffusion of MR techniques into research and clinical use.