Jefferson Lab scientists build small-animal imager for German Cancer Research Center

This week three Jefferson Lab Detector Group members travel to Heidelberg, Germany, to assemble and bring on-line a small-animal imaging device the group developed and built for the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), an institute similar to the National Cancer Institute within the National Institutes of Health in the United States.

While nearly every member of the Detector Group played a role in developing or fabricating the device, Mark Smith, project manager for this effort, and Detector Group members Vladimir Popov and Ben Welch will be at the DKFZ during the week of April 24 to assemble, bring on-line and calibrate their mini gamma camera imager for small animals. Popov's primary responsibility is the camera's electronics, while Welch works on data acquisition and the user interface. He will also go over the user's manual with the scientists who will use the machine.

"In December we shipped the larger components and the electronics rack. During this trip we'll hand-carry the delicate electronics. Once there, our job will be to assemble the imaging device, get it up and running, and conduct a system calibration," Smith explained. "We'll also use this opportunity to teach the researchers how to use the camera and conduct their own calibration work."

Mastering the machine's capabilities and the calibration process will be critical to the cancer researchers' work as they will be using more than a dozen different radiopharmaceuticals in their research. Once assembled, the entire device will sit on a small, mobile cart and be integrated with an optical-imaging system to provide dual modality, small-animal imaging.

"We're very excited about getting the system operational," Smith said. "The imager will be used for research projects on a daily basis to gain physiological information on animal models of human disease."

Jefferson Lab's work on the project began in June 2004. The Lab received approximately $86,000 from the DKFZ to build the gamma

Contact: Deborah Magaldi
DOE/Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

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