Center for Molecular Imaging

Develops and engineers new imaging instrumentation, algorithms, and agents for in vivo molecular imaging in small animals. The Center uses in vivo imaging of unique animal models to answer key biological questions of collaborators. It also focuses upon translating scientific discoveries and new imaging approaches into the clinic such as the current trials of for near-infrared fluorescence lymphatic imaging and non-invasive PET and optical imaging for nodal staging of cancer.

Service Center

Eva Sevick-Muraca, PhD, Professor & Director
Phone: (713) 500-3560

The Mission of the Center for Molecular Imaging (CMI) is to develop and apply new in vivo imaging technologies and imaging agents for the study biological processes in disease and health as well as to translate new molecular imaging approaches for enhanced clinical diagnostics.

The Center for Molecular Imaging (CMI) consists of an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers who focus upon multi-modality molecular imaging including nuclear imaging, x-ray computed tomography, bioluminescence, fluorescence, and our specialty, near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence to enable new understandings in several disease states.  In addition to having its own basic science and clinical research projects, the team also operates a “collaboration” center where clinicians and basic scientists from across the Texas Medical Center partner with CMI members to effectively apply diagnostics in preclinical and clinical studies.  Our team effectively translates new NIR molecular imaging technologies literally from “bench-to-bedside.” The CMI is one of four Centers in the U.S. comprising the National Cancer Institute’s Network for Translational Research.

The science and engineering research projects within the CMI encompass:

  • Developing, building, and translating NIR fluorescence imaging instrumentation and algorithms for multi-modality molecular imaging in preclinical and clinical studies
  • Developing and applying tomographic algorithms for NIR tomography for small animal and human imaging
  • Designing, producing, and validating unique NIR and nuclear imaging probes for assessing molecular pathways in preclinical studies and for enhanced diagnostics in Phase I and Phase I/II combination device/drug clinical studies.

The CMI basic science projects involve:

  • New molecular imaging agents for non-invasive diagnostic imaging for nodal staging in breast, prostate, melanoma, and other cancers.
  • Using molecular imaging to understand the process of lymphangiogenesis involved in cancer metastasis, infection, injury and trauma, vascular diseases, and hereditary disease in unique animal models.
  • Evaluating molecular signaling in the process of tissue re-organization in health and disease, including bone fracture, atherosclerosis, and cancer.
  • Combining molecular imaging and unique knockout animal models to understand the molecular genetics of disease.

Our ongoing clinical research currently focuses upon:

  • Using NIR fluorescence imaging to phenotype lymphatic and lymphovascular dysfunction in human subjects for directing genotyping.
    • Information for healthy volunteers
    • Information for individuals with Lymphedema

Our research competencies are:

  • a small animal imaging (CT/PET and optical tomography, Bioluminescence, Fluorescence using gene reporters, NIR fluorescence);
  • a molecular probe development (Radio- and NIR fluorescence chemistries; gene reporters);
  • The Photon Migration Laboratory (optical engineering and computational core)
  • Regulatory, quality assurance, and compliance expertise for supporting Phase I and Phase I/II FDA applications from the CMI.

Contact Us:  Eva Sevick 713-500-3560

Selected scientific publications

CMI In the News

The Pioneer: An Interview with Eva Sevick-Muraca
by David L. Shenkenberg of (Jan. 2009)

Upcoming presentation and lectures (coming soon)

The CMI team:

Eva M. Sevick-Muraca, PhD – Professor and Cullen Chair

John C. Rasmussen, PhD – Assistant Professor

Melissa Aldrich, PhD – Associate Professor

Banghe Zhu PhD– Assistant Professor