Translational PET/CT Molecular Imaging Center


To initiate a new project, please complete this Study Registration Form and email to:

Facility Overview

A major goal of this center is to facilitate the acceleration of scientific discovery into clinical practice. Small animal PET / CT allows in vivo physiologic and anatomic imaging in preclinical rodent models. Using high resolution positron emission tomography (PET), we are able to image biological processes co-registered with high resolution CT images. Quantitative, in vivo measurements of physiologic processes can be performed in longitudinal studies.

Our Inveon PET / CT scanner allows for physiologic and anatomic imaging of mice and rats with a 1.4mm FWHM PET spatial resolution, and a 0.1 mm CT spatial resolution. This quantitative analysis can be performed on static, gated and dynamic data.

A few examples of the potential use of pre-clinical PET / CT include, but are not limited to:

  • Novel PET radionuclide discovery and development
  • Molecular imaging to optimize drug development in pre-clinical models of disease
  • Interrogation of mechanisms of disease through imaging of dysfunctional pathways
  • Development and validation of novel molecular agents (nanoparticles, optical, CT, MRI, radionuclide, or a combination thereof) for diagnosis and therapy
  • Development and validation of quantitative imaging techniques prior to clinical use
  • Testing, development and validation of image acquisition and processing algorithms
  • Testing clinical hypotheses of disease in preclinical models
  • Quantifying disease progression at a molecular level.

Examples of PET imaging probes and the molecular processes imaged:








Located on the 1st floor of the Bryan Research Building (Room 0128), above the Vivarium, our research center provides accommodations for both immune competent and immunocompromised rodent models. Integrated small animal anesthesia using isofluorane, and continuous physiologic monitoring and support are also provided with our imaging service. Visualization software, supplied by the vendor, and data analysis tools are also available.

We welcome all Duke investigators and industrial partners to utilize or collaborate using this state-of-the-art technology. For more information regarding fees, please click here. To initiate a project, please complete a Study Registration Form and email to

Fees & Services


Imaging and support services are available to all research investigators. For Duke and NIH supported investigators, cost for use of small animal PET / CT is $225 /hour. Additional support for complex data analysis, or additional animal support is $150/hour. For more information regarding fees for outside investigators, please contact Thomas Hawk by phone at (919) 684-7712 or email


Study Initiation

Our staff will meet with you to discuss how PET imaging can assist you with:

  • Pre-clinical experimental goals
  • Designing an optimal imaging protocol
  • Achieving research goals with the coordination of all details of animal studies including IACUC amendments, protocol details, and animal transfers

Good coordination will facilitate cost- and time-effective research. Please contact Thomas Hawk by phone at (919) 684-7712 or email with a completed Study Registration Form

Day-of Imaging

The research facility staff will oversee all regulatory aspects of handling radioactive materials: the ordering and delivery of commercial radiotracers and radioactive disposal. Investigational radiotracers may be available depending upon requests.

Our Inveon scanner has the capability to image both mice and rats in which we may perform animal anesthesia and continuous biological monitoring during image acquisition.

Image Acquisition and Reconstruction

As we strive to perform cost-and time-effective imaging, the needs of your protocol define the acquisition and reconstruction parameters. Images are typically available within 24 hours of the acquisition and we will notify investigators when complete.

Image Analysis

We are also available to help analyze and interpret the image data. Starting with CT or PET based Region of Interest definition, we can:

  • Generate activity concentrations, standard uptake values, and time activity curves
  • Assist you with developing other analysis techniques
  • Export both images and processed data to meet your needs
  • Help prepare images for publication

About Us

Our Staff

Satish Chitneni, PhD
Associate Professor of Radiology
DUMC Box 3949
Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 684-7809
Thomas Hawk
Computer Operations
DUMC Box 3949
0401 Hospital South
Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 684-7712
Simone Degan, PhD
Research Scientist, Molecular Biology
DUMC Box 3302
311 Research Drive
Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 660-8459
Fax: (919) 684-7158


Siemens Inveon PET/CT system

The Inveon PET / CT system combines PET and CT modalities into a single gantry under the control of a single workstation, providing an optimal workflow solution for PET multimodal applications.

Image Analysis
The Research Workplace is an integrated review, fusion, and analysis package that can generate region of interest, time activity curves, and kinetic modeling of metabolic processes. A full suite of graphic applications allow for easy export of publication quality images. Image data is exportable in dicom format for analysis with other packages.

Additional Support
Our facilities include isofluorane vaporizers, a dose calibrator, balances, and heating pads for tail vein dilation and animal recovery.  We have dissection tools for ex vivo analysis of radiotracer uptake in tissues or tumors.  The Duke Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR) supported facility is in the basement of the Bryan building, so your animals can be quickly accessible for imaging studies.

Contact Information

Bryan Research Building
Duke University Medical Center
311 Research Drive, Room 0128
Durham, NC 27710
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 8 AM to 5 PM

For more information regarding pre-clinical PET / CT fees and services or to schedule a consultation or service, please contact:

Thomas Hawk
Computer Operations
DUMC Box 3949
0401 Hospital South
Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 684-7712



The Inveon small animal PET / CT scanner was funded by the NIH Shared Instrumentation grant 1S10RR031792‐01.  Acknowledgement of this grant in publications that involved the use of the small animal PET / CT system is highly appreciated.


Du K, Chitneni SK, Suzuki A, Wang Y, Henao R, Hyun J, Premont RT, Naggie S, Moylan CA, Bashir MR, Abdelmalek MF, Diehl AM.  Increased Glutaminolysis Marks Active Scarring in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Progression.  Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology.  2020;S2352-345X.  Abstract

Liu Y, Carpenter AB, Pirozzi CJ, Yuan H, Waitkus MS, Zhou Z, Hansen L, Seywald M, Odion R, Greer PK, Hawk T, Chin BB, Vaidyanathan G, Zalutsky MR, Yan H, Vo-Dinh T.  Non-invasive sensitive brain tumor detection using dual-modality bioimaging nanoprobe.  Nanotechnology.  2019;30:275101.  Abstract

Zhou Z, McDougald DL, Devoogdt N, Zalutsky MR, Vaidyanathan G.  Labeling single domain antibody fragments with fluorine-18 using 2,3,5,6-tetrafluorophenyl 6-[18F]fluoronicotinate resulting in high tumor to kidney ratios.  Molecular Pharmaceutics.  2019;16:214-226.  Abstract

Zhou Z, Devoogdt N, Zalutsky MR, Vaidyanathan G.  An efficient method for labeling single domain antibody fragments with 18F using tetrazine-trans-cyclooctene ligation and a renal brush border enzyme-cleavable linker.  Bioconjugate Chemistry.  2018;29:4090-4103.  Abstract

Gedeon PC, Schaller TH, Chitneni SK, Choi BD, Kuan C-T, Suryadevara CM, Snyder DJ, Schmittling RJ, Szafranski SE, Cui X, Healy PN, Herndon II JE, McLendon RE, Keir ST, Archer GE, Reap EA, Sanchez-Perez L, Bigner DD, Sampson JH.  A rationally designed fully human EGFRvIII:CD3-targeted bispecific antibody redirects human T cells to treat patient-derived intracerebral malignant glioma.  Clinical Cancer Research.  2018;24:3611-3631.  Abstract

Chitneni SK, Yan H, Zalutsky MR.  Synthesis and evaluation of an 18F-labeled triazinediamine analogue for imaging mutant IDH1 expression in gliomas by PET.  ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters.  2018;9:606-611.  Abstract

Zhou Z, Chitneni SK, Devoogdt N, Zalutsky MR, Vaidyanathan G.  Fluorine-18 labeling of an anti-HER2 VHH using a residualizing prosthetic group via a strain-promoted click reaction: chemistry and preliminary evaluation.  Bioorganic Medicinal Chemistry.  2018;26:1939-1949.  Abstract

Zhou Z, Vaidyanathan G, McDougald D, Kang CM, Balyasnikova I, Devoogdt N, Ta AN, McNaughton BR, Zalutsky MR.  Fluorine-18 labeling of the HER2-targeting single-domain antibody 2Rs15d using a residualizing label and preclinical evaluation.  Molecular Imaging and Biology.  2017;19:867-877.  Abstract

Chin BB, McDougald D, Weitzel DH, Hawk T, Reiman RE, Zalutsky MR, Vaidyanathan G.  Synthesis and preliminary evaluation of 5-[18F]fluoroleucine.  Current Radiopharmaceuticals.  2017;10:41-50.  Abstract

Vaidyanathan G, McDougald D, Choi J, Koumarianou E, Weitzel D, Osada T, Lyerly HK, Zalutsky MR.  Preclinical evaluation of 18F-labeled anti-HER2 nanobody conjugates for imaging HER2 receptor expression by immuno-PET.  Journal of Nuclear Medicine.  2016;57:967-973.  Abstract

Burt T, Rouse DC, Lee K, Wu H, Layton AT, Hawk TC, Weitzel DH, Chin BB, Cohen-Wolkowiez M, Chow SC, Noveck RJ.  Intraarterial microdosing: a novel drug development approach, proof-of-concept PET study in rats.  Journal of Nuclear Medicine.  2015; 56:1793-1799.  Abstract