NIF Molecular Imaging and Radiochemistry Showcase to be presented at ANZSNM

National Imaging Facility enables access to imaging capabilities across the country and will present a Molecular Imaging and Radiochemistry Showcase at ANZSNM 2022, featuring presentations from a range of research leaders from Australia’s advanced imaging network.

See the full ANZSNM program here.

Register to attend ANZSNM 2022.

National Imaging Facility: Molecular Imaging and Radiochemistry Showcase
Saturday 14 May 2022, 3:15pm – 4:15pm
Session Chair: Prof Wojtek Goscinski, CEO National Imaging Facility

3:15 – 3:20Professor Wojtek Goscinski

Chief Executive Officer
National Imaging Facility

Introduction to NIF Molecular Imaging and
Radiochemistry Showcase

3:20 – 3:30Professor Steven Meikle

Head of the Imaging Physics Laboratory, Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney

Total Body PET
3:30 – 3:40Associate Professor Roslyn Francis

Head of Department of Nuclear Medicine and WA PET Service, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, University of Western Australia

Radiochemistry activities in Western Australia
3:40 – 3:50Professor Gary Egan

Professor and Foundation Director, Monash Biomedical Imaging

Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function

Australian Precision Medicine Enterprise
3:50 – 4:00Prof Kristofer Theurecht

Acting Deputy Director (Research Technologies) and Group Leader – Principal Research Fellow,

Centre for Advanced Imaging, University of Queensland

Affiliate Principal Research Fellow and Group Leader,

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology

Alpha therapies and activities
4:00 – 4:10Dr John Bennett

Research Infrastructure Platform Leader – Biosciences,

ANSTO’s new NIF Alpha Radioisotopes and
Radiopharmaceuticals Facility

World class imaging expertise empowers a sight for (dino)saur eyes

ICYMI, Horridus, the world’s most complete and finely preserved Triceratops was unveiled to the public (for the first time in 67 million years) last month at Melbourne Museum, as part of their new exhibition, Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs.

Advanced Imaging experts from Monash Biomedical Imaging (MBI) and the National Imaging Facility (NIF) worked with Melbourne Museum to create a digital record of Horridus and further examine how the dinosaur would have walked the earth back-in-the-day for the exhibition’s immersive digital experience.

Longstanding research collaborations exist between the Melbourne Museum palaeontology team and the Biomedicine Discovery Institute and School of Biological Sciences at Monash University, with MBI facilitating imaging of many important fossil specimens for collaborative scientific study, teaching and outreach.

Imaging is critical to a broad variety of research problems including environmental and ecosystems research, palaeontology and preservation. The National Imaging Facility (NIF) makes cutting edge imaging capabilities accessible to Australian researchers and companies, and NIF’s world-class network of Fellows provides expertise in processing and interpreting imaging data and applying imaging to solve complex challenges.

As the CT scanner can penetrate plastic and foam, the team were able to keep the bones in their protective stillages during scanning

Why make a digital record of Horridus?

As the most complete real dinosaur fossil in any Australasian Museum, Horridus was scanned in MBI’s large bore Siemens CT scanner before it was assembled for display, to enable further study of the Triceratops by the global scientific community.

The imaging of rare and high-value specimens such as Horridus allows the preservation of information from fragile objects, in addition to the non-destructive exploration of the interior of specimens.

Monash University PhD student Hazel Richards conducted the scans and created 3D models of the Triceratops bones for the exhibition as part of her role as research assistant on the project.

“When we combine the internal images produced by these CT scans with the external surface scan images, we can create a complete 3D model of the Triceratops bones that allows us to research a range of exciting biological and evolutionary questions,” Ms Richards said.

“The team at MBI are always enthused and accommodating when we come to them with proposals for scanning weird and often unwieldy objects like these Triceratops fossils.”

“With their support and expertise, we have been able to maximise the scientific potential of these remarkable pieces of natural history,” Ms Richards said.

Monash University PhD student Hazel Richards conducted the scans and created 3D models of the Triceratops bones for the exhibition as part of her role as research assistant on the project.

Applying imaging expertise to solve challenges

NIF Facility Fellow, and MBI’s Head of Pre-Clinical Imaging, Dr Michael de Veer worked with Ms Richards to provide training and operational guidance on the optimal use of the instrument to generate the data.

“Fossilised bone is very dense, so our scanning challenge was to manipulate the CT settings so that the X-rays would penetrate the bones, allowing visualisation of internal structures such as the dinosaur’s brain case,” Dr de Veer said.

“Different parts of the dinosaur fossil were scanned over a number of visits, and the bones were transported in special crates to reduce the possibility of damage.

“As the CT scanner can penetrate plastic and foam, we were able to keep the bones in their protective stillages during scanning, a capability that made Museums Victoria palaeontologist Tim Ziegler very happy” Dr de Veer said.

As Collection Manager Vertebrate Palaeontology, Tim Ziegler manages the preservation of Victoria’s fossil collections of backboned animals, plants, and microfossils, including dinosaurs.

“Fossils are surprisingly fragile once they are uncovered and brought out of the ground,” Mr Ziegler said.

“We take any opportunity to improve the safety of specimens under research. As part of Victoria’s State Collection, this skeleton will be kept and preserved in perpetuity, and will offer scientific potential for years to come.”

Museums Victoria palaeontologist Tim Ziegler, Monash University PhD student Hazel Richards and NIF Facility Fellow, and MBI’s Head of Pre-Clinical Imaging, Dr Michael de Veer. 

What can a CT tell us about life 67 million years ago?

Visitors to the Triceratops exhibition will see the CT data captured first-hand – both virtually –through animated projections from the scans, and physically – as life-size touchable resin casts made from the 3D printed models.

This information can be used to tell deeper stories about Triceratops, including its evolution, behaviour and how it sensed its Cretaceous world.

The data of the upper and lower jaws reveal Horridus had more than 800 teeth. These CT scans can contribute to investigations of feeding biomechanics and diet in Triceratops and other highly specialised herbivorous dinosaurs.  

Scans of the dinosaur’s well-preserved braincase provided 3D models of the internal cranial cavity, allowing the team to examine the size and shape of regions of the brain and inner ear.

These provide important data for research reconstructing what sorts of sounds Triceratops was adapted to hear, and the relative importance of vision, smell and hearing in the daily lives of these long-extinct beasts.

The data of the upper and lower jaws reveal Horridus had more than 800 teeth. These CT scans can contribute to investigations of feeding biomechanics and diet in Triceratops and other highly specialised herbivorous dinosaurs. Image copyright Museums Victoria.

Say hi to Horridus

You can visit Horridus in the flesh (er.. bones?) at Melbourne Museum’s exhibition, Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs.

View Horridus in 3D here.

For more information, contact Dr Michael de Veer, Head of Pre-Clinical Imaging and NIF Facility Fellow.

Images courtesy of Museums Victoria and Monash Biomedical Imaging.

Our top picks: Three webinars to boost the potential of your research with imaging

We are excited to promote opportunities to make imaging applicable across disciplines and institutions. 

With the start of the academic year upon us, we’ve shortlisted our top webinar picks to upskill, broaden your understanding of advanced imaging capabilities, and get involved in the imaging community.  

1. ACCS Brain Imaging Series with the Australian Characterisation Commons at Scale 

The ACCS Brain Imaging Series will bring together topical webinars and lectures with hands-on workshop sessions teaching practical skills in creating workflows and analysis pipelines for brain imaging data in the Characterisation Virtual Laboratory (CVL).  

Lecture: 24 March 1:00pm – 2:00pm  
Workshop: 31 March  1:00pm – 3:00pm 
Troubleshooting session: 7 April  12:00pm – 1:00pm   

2. The neuroscience of lifestyle interventions for mental health: the BrainPark approach with Monash Biomedical Imaging 

In this webinar, Dr Rebecca Segrave and Dr Chao Suo will discuss BrainPark’s approach to developing lifestyle-based interventions to help people get better control of compulsive behaviours, and the multi-modality neuroimaging approaches they take to investigating outcomes. 

Webinar: 16 March 12:30pm – 1:15pm 

3. Introducing healthcare research, development, and deployment technologies with NVIDIA Clara™ (last chance to register) 

NVIDIA Clara™ is a healthcare application framework for AI-powered imaging, genomics, and the development and deployment of smart sensors. It includes full-stack GPU-accelerated libraries, SDKs, and reference applications for developers, data scientists, and researchers to create real-time, secure, and scalable solutions.  

Day 1: 22 February (9:00am – 11.30am) 
Day 2: 23 February (9:00am – 11.00am) 

Changes in the brain related to parenthood

Parents can tell you that having kids changes your life. Recent studies by the Cognitive Neuroimaging Team at Monash Biomedical Imaging have shown just how deep those changes go by analysing brain structure in older adults that have had children. Parenthood was shown to cause life-long changes in both mothers and fathers, with a follow-up study suggesting that motherhood can protect the ageing maternal brain.

Read More

Development of Microbeam Radiation Therapy

Only two in ten people diagnosed with brain cancer will survive for at least five years, a figure that has barely improved in the last 30 years. Due to the blood-brain barrier and the risk of damaging normal brain tissue, brain cancer treatments are complex and multidisciplinary. Despite advances in surgical techniques, radiotherapy and chemotherapeutics, brain tumours remain challenging to treat. Hence, image-guided microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) with nanoparticle enhancement is being investigated for the treatment of brain cancer in animal models.

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National Preclinical PET QA

The NIF Molecular Imaging & Radiochemistry (MIR) Theme is a group of NIF Fellows, Directors, and users of NIF facilities that focus on state-of-the-art radiochemistry and molecular imaging applications using PET, SPECT, and MRI.

Integrating preclinical PET systems into a national resource requires the development of defined QA programs to monitor and integrate the data from individual systems. Hence, the MIR Theme initiated a national quality assurance (QA) program for the NIF preclinical PET instruments.

Read More
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