PI Name: Russ Jacobs
Institution: California Institute of Technology


Positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are major tools of the clinical diagnostician and the basic research scientist. They offer non-destructive three-dimensional (3D) views into deep tissues. PET, through the use of radio-labeled molecular probes can sensitively assay a range of biological processes (e.g. metabolic activity, receptor density, signal transduction) with high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and millimeter spatial resolution. MRI is exquisitely sensitive to soft tissue differences and abnormalities with resolution as fine as 105 in small samples. Although SNR is intrinsically low in the magnetic resonance (MR) experiment, new MRI contrast agents offer the potential of monitoring specific biological processes at high resolution, albeit at a significantly lower sensitivity than PET. Given the complementary strengths of these imaging modalities it was logical to consider integrating the two. One of the two major small-animal PET/MRI systems is developed by this DBP project and has been used for a significant number of proof-of-concept in vivo studies.