The University possesses approximately 12 electron microscopes that are dedicated to biomedical research, mostly in the 100-120kV range. These activities are concentrated in the Dunn School of Pathology, the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, the Department of Physiology Anatomy and Genetics, and the Laboratory of Clinical Sciences. Powerful facilities also exist in the Dept of Materials Science.
The University possesses a good deal of optical microscopy hardware. This includes over 30 laser scanning microscopes (confocal, non-confocal, multi-photon and other specialist LSM devices); a large number of conventional microscopes (including various fluorescence, phase, DIC and brightfield microscopes); and other types of specialist microscope (e.g., total internal reflectance fluorescence (TIRF), structured illumination, and deconvolution microscopes). As well as many applications scientists there are a number of scientists with a strong focus on technique development (e.g. Martin Booth in Engineering Science and Boris Vojnovic in the Radiation Oncology and Biology Dept).
There are three principal facilities for pre-clinical in-vivo optical imaging. One is used for intrinsic and voltage sensitive dye optical imaging (housed in DPAG), and two others are used for bioluminescence imaging (one held in the ROB facility on the Churchill site and one held by Clinical Pharmacology on the JR site).
There are three main sites of animal MRI activity across the University, one on the Churchill Hospital campus and two in the University Science Area. Altogether these sites possess five scanners. The areas of scientific focus are: cardiovascular (DPAG); neuroscience (DPAG, Experimental Psychology); and oncology (ROB). Most of these systems are either exclusively or predominantly used for rodent work, although facilities exist for larger animals.
NUCLEAR MEDICINE IMAGING
The Radiation Oncology and Biology (ROB) facility at the Churchill Hospital site has a broad range of imaging modalities in place (nano-SPECT/CT, ultrasound, microPET).
Several other pieces of major imaging equipment exist within the University for pre-clinical imaging. These include intravascular ultrasound (ROB), and a hyperpolarised 13C MRI system (DPAG).
The most abundant University human imaging resource, both in terms of personnel and equipment, is in magnetic resonance imaging. Currently the human MRI facilities are concentrated at the John Radcliffe Hospital site and consist of: the Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB, administered by the Nuffield Dept of Clinical Neurosciences) and the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research (OCMR, administered by Cardiovascular Medicine). The OCMR Centre has both 1.5 tesla and 3 tesla whole body scanners, used mainly for cardiology research, but also available for basic and clinical neuroscience research. The FMRIB Centre currently possesses a neuro-dedicated 3 tesla scanner and specializes in magnetic resonance functional and structural imaging and spectroscopy. The FMRIB Centre also has a 7 tesla human scanner. This is used jointly for neuro (75%) and cardiac (25%) research. A further 3 tesla research scanner is contained in the Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity at the Warneford Hospital site.
The Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Trust has a PET/CT camera in the new Cancer PFI Hospital on the Churchill Hospital site. The PET camera will be available as a University and NHS research resource, although it will mainly be used for diagnostic purposes. Plans are also underway to purchase a high-specification research cyclotron that will be used for pre-clinical molecular imaging research. In the longer term the partnership of the University of Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust intends to develop a radiochemistry research centre at the new Cancer Hospital on the Churchill Hospital Site. This will eventually include a cyclotron, hot radiochemistry lab, and a GMP-compliant chemistry synthesis laboratory.
A high-specification Trionix triple-headed SPECT camera is owned by the NHS, but has considerable time available for research. In addition to the research-available Trionix SPECT camera there are a number of other NHS-owned SPECT and SPECT/CT cameras on the JR and Churchill sites that can be used in part for research.
The Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity, sited in the Dept of Psychiatry, opened in 2007. The MEG scanner incorporates state-of-the-art EEG recording technology, and includes a mock scanner for subject acclimatisation. This technology allows study of brain dynamics with high temporal resolution and complements the fMRI technologies that offer higher spatial resolution but vastly lower temporal resolution.
Several other pieces of noteworthy imaging equipment exist within the University. These include multi-channel EEG facilities in the Dept of Experimental Psychology and optical coherence tomography devices that belong to the Dept of Cardiovascular Medicine. There is a new ultrasonics/acoustics lab that is part of the Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBME) at the Churchill site; this includes state-of-the-art diagnostic/therapeutic transducers, water tanks and associated equipment, and a research ultrasound engine (Analogic system) shared by multiple projects and which can be used for clinical projects.