Non-invasive imaging techniques have undergone substantial growth in recent years, in both the research and clinical arenas. The standard anatomical imaging modalities of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have been complemented by quantitative functional approaches like positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Our lab develops new instrumentation and processing techniques to enhance the functional capabilities of PET, and also to combine it with synergistic modalities such as MRI to provide unprecedented, multidimensional information for broad applications ranging from the traditional areas of cancer diagnosis and brain research to plant science with the aim of developing improved biofuels. We have developed a miniaturized brain scanner for rodents (RatCAP) which avoids the potentially confounding effects of general anesthesia in rat brain studies, and even allows for the simultaneous study of behavior along with neurochemistry by PET. We have also developed new approaches for very high spatial resolution in PET, including a solid-state imager using cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) which achieves sub-mm resolution, and a monolithic scintillator detector with depth-encoding capability via a novel maximum likelihood positioning algorithm. And we have developed multiple imaging systems for simultaneous imaging with PET and high-field MRI, including a whole plant imaging system. The research encompasses the development of new detector materials and concepts, low-noise microelectronic signal processing, high-throughput data acquisition methods, Monte Carlo simulation, and new data processing techniques to optimize the extraction of quantitative information from the PET data.
See Also: PET Research