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Providing state-of-the-art in vivo imaging, including microcomputed tomography scanning, fluorescent and bioluminescent imaging, and intravital microscopes

The Animal Imaging Facility provides state-of-the-art in vivo imaging for small research animals. It offers researchers access to a number of imaging systems, including clinically relevant technologies such as fluorescent and bioluminescent imaging and two intravital microscopes.

Fluorescent and bioluminescent imaging

The IVIS Lumina II is an easy-to-use imaging system for both fluorescent and bioluminescent imaging in vivo. The system includes a highly sensitive CCD camera, light-tight imaging chamber, and complete automation and analysis capabilities.

The IVIS Spectrum is a non-invasive in vivo imaging technology that uses the full wavelength spectrum from high-energy blue to low-energy infrared, of bioluminescent and fluorescent reporters. It is an easy-to-use imaging system using the Living Image Software for both fluorescent and bioluminescent imaging in vivo and ex vivo. The system uses leading optical technology for preclinical imaging research and development ideal for non-invasive longitudinal monitoring of disease progression, cell trafficking and gene expression patterns in living animals. The technology allows for distinguishing different organs in high-resolution 3D images.


The EchoMRI is a high-precision analyser for small live animals. It measures whole body fat, lean, free water and total water masses. Scanning takes just 0.5–3.2 minutes, depending on the precision options. The live animals need no anaesthesia and no special preparation before measurement.

Intravital imaging

There are two microscopes available for intravital imaging:

  • Zeiss 7MP two-photon microscope: Dedicated two-photon microscope for deep-tissue intravital microscopy
  • Leica DMI 6000 SP8 SMD MP intravital: Advanced confocal and multiphoton fluorescence microscope with lifetime imaging.

Using these next-generation microscopes, we can identify cancer and immune cells in previously inaccessible regions, like deep inside bone, and also observe signalling between live tumour cells and immune cells. This allows us to study in unprecedented detail how drug-resistant, dormant cancer cells develop and interact with the immune system.

For more information about our intravital microscopes, please visit ACRF INCITe Centre.

Ultrafocus Faxitron/Dexascan

The UltraFocusDXA by Faxitron is a compact ultra-high-resolution imaging system using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry(DXA). It is a fully shielded x-ray cabinet placed directly on the bench top set up with gaseous anaesthesia. It is used for longitudinal studies, the UltraFocusDXA automatically acquires BMD, BMC, and body composition results in under 3 minutes. Multiple detector sizes coupled with the wide energy range from 10-100kV makes the UltraFocus ideal for imaging a broad range of samples. The 8µm focal spot and up to 10X geometric magnification provide up to 100 lp/mm resolution images. The advanced Automatic Exposure Control allows the system to automatically select the appropriate exposure time and kV settings for the sample, with a single click of the mouse. Images are instantaneously displayed.

X-RAD 320 Irradiator

The X-Rad 320 is a self-contained biological irradiator for cells and small animals. The x-ray tube produces a fast and accurate radiation dose to specimens with a maximum power output of 320kV. The system is fully shielded ensuring user safety during operation. The system has a motorised turntable and adjustable programmable specimen shelf, with a maximum sample diameter of 23cm. The system allows full screen, real time specimen viewing. The system has an easy-to-use touch screen interface with saveable programs for ease of use. BTF has a restraining device available for whole body irradiation of up to 11 mice at one time.  Commercial lead-shielded restraints are available for targeted irradiation of body parts. 

Contact us

For further information about accessing our services, please contact Amanda Brindley

The Garvan Institute operates under strict ethical guidelines. We only use animals in research programs that are of the highest quality and where no alternatives are available. All such work is carried out under licences issued by the Garvan/St Vincent’s Animal Ethics Committee (AEC). The AEC ensures that the use of animals is justified, taking into consideration the scientific or educational benefits and the potential effects on the welfare of the animals. Read more about our policy on animals in research here.

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