Dr. Roman is the Director of the Molecular and Physiological Imaging Laboratory. The laboratory’s approach is to combine modern physiological and molecular biological techniques with imaging modalities. There are two main areas of research in the laboratory which are NIH supported; using magnetic resonance to detect gene expression in the heart and the development of magnetic resonance techniques for imaging pancreatic beta cell and islet function.
In order to successfully conduct this research, the laboratory requires an array of equipment which is unique to a Radiology department and provides us the ability to conduct studies ranging from the single cell to the whole animal. The laboratory has a cell culture facility consisting of a biosafety hood, cell incubator, centrifuges, and a Zeiss fluorescence microscope. The biochemistry lab is equipped with a high speed centrifuge, quantitative real-time PCR machine, UV spectrophotometers, a microplate reader, and a gel documentation and analysis system along with associated electrophoresis equipment. The animal physiology laboratory is equipped to perform microsurgery with the aid of a Zeiss surgical microscope, associated rodent ventilator and anesthesia machine. In vivo hemodyamic measurements are made in mice using a 1.4F Millar pressure/volume transducer which is inserted into the mouse ventricle and data digitized and analyzed in real time. This is not trivial as the mouse heart is only 120 mg with a heart rate of 600-700 bpm!
The primary imaging modality used is magnetic resonance, both spectroscopy and imaging. We currently utilize the 4.7T animal scanner located in the magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy laboratory headed by Dr. Greg Karczmar for all in vivo cardiac and pancreatic imaging. Cellular imaging studies of isolated rodent and human pancreatic islets are conducted on a 11.7T scanner located at the University of Illinois at Chicago. We are looking forward to the acquisition of a 9.4T animal scanner which will allow us conduct molecular imaging studies not possible on our current equipment.