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These studies are performed on a wide range of biological samples including small animals (cats, rabbits, rats, mice), tissue specimens, cultured cells and tissue extracts.

This facility includes a conveniently located, well-equipped surgery room used for preparing the animals for MR exams and a wide assortment of supporting equipment, i.e. anesthesia machines, MR compatible vital signs monitors (SA Instruments), infusion pumps (Harvard Apparatus), heating pads, etc. A variety of perishable supplies used in animal preparation are also provided by the facility.


  • 4.7 Tesla 50 cm horizontal bore MR System: (Small Animal Imaging Lab 1st Floor of SCTR) equipped with 30 cm ID 3 gauss/cm and a 12 cm ID 25 gauss/cm gradient tubes and interfaced to an Agilent DirectDrive console. The console is configured with two broad band channels as well as a 4 channel receiver array. A variety of volume and surface coils suitable for imaging of rodents are also available.
  • 9.4 Tesla 8.9 cm vertical bore MR System: (Small Animal Imaging Lab 1st Floor of SCTR) equipped with 55 mm ID 100 gauss/cm gradient tubes and interfaced to an Agilent DirectDrive console. The console is configured with full imaging capabilities, three transmit/receive channels (one high band and two low band), variable temperature control, pneumatic sample spin insert and eject capabilities, and liquids and solids probes suitable for generation of high-resolution spectra. Numerous slotted tube resonators suitable for imaging and spectroscopy of subcutaneous tumors and tissue specimens are also available.
  • 9.4 Tesla 31 cm horizontal bore MR System: (B100 John Morgan Building) equipped with 21 cm ID 25 gauss/cm and 12 cm ID 40 gauss/cm gradient tubes and interfaced to an Bruker Avance III console. The console is configured with a high band (proton and fluorine) and broad band channels as well as a 4-channel receiver array. A large variety of volume and surface coils suitable for imaging of rodents are also available.


Users interested in utilizing the SAIF MR resources are encouraged to contact the director of the facility, S. Pickup (see below for contact information) in order to discuss protocol design before completing the SAIF research application. The prospective user then completes and submits a SAIF Research Applications form which is reviewed by the relevant core directors. Upon receiving approval of the application, the investigator must contact a member of the staff of the MR facility in order to create user accounts on the target platform and scheduling calendar. Users with sufficient experience may schedule studies, prepare animals and perform scans with minimal support from the staff. Less experienced users may opt to have the scans performed by facility staff on a fee-for-service basis.

All users are expected to clean up after themselves! The lab should be at least as clean when you leave as it was when you arrived. Everything in the lab that comes into contact with animals or specimens should be wiped clean with disinfectant and returned to its proper storage location. All trash should be placed in the proper receptacle. All tape should be removed from facility equipment and disposed of. The taped surface should also be wiped clean of any residue from the tape. All Drug Enforcement Agency controlled substances must be locked in the boxes when in the lab and should be removed when the studies are complete.

Scheduling Policy

The policy as described below was developed in order to accommodate as many research projects as possible. Users are encouraged to notify the facility staff if other users are in violation of the scheduling policy.

  • When reserving magnet time, the title should include the telephone number of the primary user so that they may be contacted if a scheduling conflict should occur. 
  • No user should sign up for more than 4 hours of prime time per day prior to 72 hours before the scheduled time unless special arrangements are made with the facility director (NOTE: The need to do multiple animals is not sufficient justification of scheduling large blocks of prime time).
  • Users desiring a prime time slot should sign up for one of three slots; 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Shorter blocks of time may be scheduled but they should not span the 12:00 pm transition.
  • ProDev users should not schedule any prime time earlier than 72 hours before to the desired slot.
  • None of the above rules apply if a slot has not been reserved 72 hours prior to the scheduled time.
  • None of the above applies to non-prime time.
  • Failure to adhere to the above policy is grounds for removal of the offending time slot from the schedule.

Online Schedule

Researchers can check in real time for facility availability. Our online schedule is updated regularly (account requires a PennKey and password).

MRI and MRS Rates

Users are billed for the time that they are logged into the console at the following rates. The login times are automatically recorded by the operating system. Billing statements are generated shortly after the close of the billing cycle (first of the month) and are emailed to the PI of the study. No statement is generated for accounts that did not have any activity during a given billing cycle. The facility employs a two-tiered billing schedule as described below.

  • $110/hr – Mon-Fri: 9:00am to 5:00pm
  • $40/hr max $160/session – Holidays, Sat, Sun, & Mon-Fri: 5:00pm to 9:00am
  • $40/hr – Technician Fees

Contact Information

HupB: 9.4T Vertical bore MR system (SCTR, Room 1-113): 215-746-1425
HupC: 4.7T Horizontal bore MR system (SCTR, Room 1-112): 215-746-1425
HupD: 9.4T Horizontal bore MR system (John Morgan Building, Room B100): 215-573-2534

Stephen Pickup, PhD
Director, Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy Sub-Core
Phone: 215-746-1423

Weixia Liu, PhD
Technical Director, Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy Sub-Core
Phone: 215-746-5056

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