Biological Research Facility : In Vivo Imaging

Close-up of nanoScan SPECT CT scanner in the In Vivo Imaging facility.


We use a wide range of imaging tools to study biological processes and disease in living animals.

In vivo literally means ‘within the living’. In vivo imaging techniques allow us to non-invasively track natural processes and diseases in live animals, monitoring them over time.

We can image at a wide range of scales, ranging from whole body to sub-cellular, using cutting-edge techniques including:

  • Ultrasound, which uses high-frequency sound waves to produce 2D or 3D images.
  • Bioluminescence, which uses sensitive cameras to see molecules that have been tagged with naturally glowing bioluminescent proteins.
  • Fluorescence, which uses lasers and sensitive cameras to see molecules that absorb light and emit it at a different wavelength.
  • MicroCT, which uses X-rays to produce 3D images.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), which uses powerful magnets to reveal information across length scales, from the whole body to molecules.

Imaging helps us to reduce and refine the use of animals in research, as we can get more information from each animal. This means scientists need fewer animals and fewer experiments to get the same, or better, results.

We help Crick researchers to get better results using imaging techniques, offering equipment training and support in designing and carrying out experiments. We also demonstrate and evaluate new imaging technologies and offer imaging-related seminars and events.

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