Loma Linda University Health’s Center for Imaging Research (CIR) performs leading-edge molecular imaging research. The center’s goal is to continually improve the diagnosis and treatment of diseases like cancer, resulting in better patient outcomes. 

Director Dr. Barbara Holshouser works to accomplish this goal by facilitating collaborations between basic science faculty and physicians. This spirit of collaboration leads to innovative translational research using molecular imaging. In support of producing impactful translational research, the center:

  • Provides resources to translate research projects on animal models into clinical and clinical research applications.
  • Provides the research community not only production and preclinical imaging services, but also clinical imaging services.
  • Promotes collaborative projects between scientists and physicians.
  • Provides education and training opportunities for students, postdoctoral researchers and clinical fellows.
  • Recruits participants for clinical trials.

For information about using imaging resources, contact CIR.

Imaging Resources

The CIR provides researchers at Loma Linda University Health access to several state-of-the-art resources. Though first priority is given to our own research community, we also welcome outside collaborators.

Next door, the Loma Linda University Medical Center provides advanced imaging with PET/CT, SPECT/CT, MR and CT. These resources are available for imaging needs in basic science and clinical research.


Our facility houses two biomedical cyclotrons (Siemens Eclipse) for the production of positron-emitting radionuclides. These are used to create custom radiotracers, which are injected into the subject and interact with certain body areas. Positron emission tomography (PET) can then be used for highly effective imaging in diagnosis and treatment.

Radiochemistry Lab

Radiopharmaceuticals for animal and human research are produced in our fully-equipped radiochemistry lab. The radiochemistry lab is equipped with three hot cells, large lead structures that shield personnel from radiation exposure. Two cells house 11C and 18F synthesis chemistry modules, which support the production of PET imaging biomarkers. A third cell is used for dispensing, equipped with remote manipulators and dose calibrators.

The lab contains the instruments needed for purification and quality control of radiopharmaceuticals, including gas and high-performance liquid chromatographs.

Current Projects

The radiochemistry lab is involved in preclinical and human clinical trials through collaborations with basic science and clinical departments. Current projects include:

  • Production of an 18F labeled SV2A marker for synaptic density, used in research on long-term radiation effects, Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy.
  • Use of an 18F labeled TSPO marker for neuroinflammation in research on traumatic brain injury, hypoxic-ischemic injury and brain development.
  • Development of an 18F labeled imaging agent for detecting epithelial tumors and metastases with greater specificity.
  • Synthesis and use of an 11C labeled marker calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor (CGRPr) in preclinical studies involving neuropathic pain and dental pain.

Imaging Laboratory

Our preclinical imaging lab is available to basic science researchers. The imaging facilities are equipped with everything necessary for animal care during in-vivo imaging, including anesthesia equipment, warming pads and animal care supplies. The lab is also connected to the Animal Care Facility via a secure underground tunnel.

The lab is currently equipped with microPET, microCT and MR imaging modalities from advanced instruments, including:

  • Wide bore 11.7T MRI scanner by Bruker, for in-vivo animal imaging, biospecimen imaging and MR spectroscopy.
  • Siemens MicroCAT™ II CT small animal X-ray computed tomography system designed to acquire and manipulate 3D data of small specimens.
  • MicroPET Rodent R4 by Concorde Microsystems to acquire and reconstruct 3D tomographic PET images of small animals.

The 3D analysis laboratory uses ASIPro and GE MicroView for 3D reconstruction of CT and PET images. It also uses VivoQuant by InVicro, Inc., which supports:

  • Visualization and analysis of static and dynamic image data sets across multiple modalities.
  • Multi-modal registration of images.
  • 3D ROI segmentation.
  • 3D mouse and rat brain atlases.
  • Tracer kinetic modeling.
  • Quantitative analysis of regional information.