Gabi Hanna, MD

Associate Director


The Optical Molecular Imaging and Analysis (OMIA) Shared Resource provides a variety of optical imaging services, technologies, equipment and expertise to support the scientific needs and objectives of the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI). Optical techniques have become an increasingly important tool for understanding molecular mechanisms of cancer development and therapy.

Its high sensitivity and specificity enable elegant studies into gene regulation and functional processes involved in cancer progression and therapeutic response. The other key advantage of optical techniques is that they are non-invasive and relatively cost effective and so can be done serially in the same animal, allowing for better characterization of transient or dynamic effects and minimizing the overall use of animals. No other modality can provide all of these benefits.

Services, Surgical Model, Equipment and Technologies


The Optical Molecular Imaging and Analysis shared resource facilitates small animal imaging and spectroscopy. The services can be broken down broadly according to the categories below:

  • Optical imaging and spectroscopy.
  • Window chamber surgery training and support.
  • User training in techniques.
  • Scientific guidance on experimental design, data analysis and interpretation.

Services offered include:

  • Perkin Elmer VisEn FMT2500LX (GSRBII, rm. 1011). This device performs fluorescence molecular tomography of near infrared (NIR) fluorophores in whole mice. This includes the use of far-red fluorescent reporter proteins (e.g., mPlum, E2-Crimson), as well as a wide range of NIR fluorescent probes and labeling kits available commercially (see Related Content sidebar). Potential applications include angiogenesis, vascular volume, apoptosis, bone reformation, kidney function, protease activity, inflammation, cell tracking, antibody labeling, and more.
  • We also have three small animal imaging instruments made by Caliper Life Sciences. We have the IVIS Kinetic system for real time combined bioluminescence and visible/near infrared fluorescence imaging (MSRBI, rm. 283), an IVIS Lumina XR, which is capable of fluorescence, bioluminescence, and X-ray imaging (CCIF, rm. 1EA), and an IVIS Lumina III bioluminescence/fluorescence imager (GSRB2 rm 1011). These are equipped with a heated stage and isoflurane anesthesia system. For more information, refer to the links section below. Several luciferase reporter cell lines are also potentially available upon request and approval, including HIF-1 reporters and constitutive reporters suitable for tumor growth and metastases tracking.
  • Portable, hand-held optical spectroscopy that is capable of non-invasively monitoring hemoglobin oxygen saturation, total Hb concentration (related to blood volume), redox ratio (related to oxygenation state) and scattering coefficient (related to whether cells are intact or undergoing necrosis or apoptosis). This device provides insights into the physiologic responses to treatment. It has been validated against other methods and found to predict for chemotherapy and radiation response (see review article).
  • Window chamber services. Dr. Dewhirst has pioneered the use of these models for investigation of a myriad of physiologic endpoints and for examination of reporter gene expression. Surgical facilities and assistance are offered. Located in MSRB 295 and 239. 
  • Intravital microscopy. Hyperspectral imaging of microvascular morphology, oxygenation, hemodynamics, and fluorescence. Located in MSRB1 296 and 239.
  • Scanning stage microscopy with Zeiss AxioSkop II, suitable for imaging histology slides via fluorescence or bright field. Located in MSRB1 252.
  • A Ruskin INVIVO2 500 hypoxia chamber, suitable for controlled oxygen tension for cell culture is also available for use through an affiliated resource

Surgical Models:

To take advantage of the optical imaging technique we aim to surgically implant a window on different organs to be able to image them by microscope. Dr. Hanna has developed several animal surgical models, and works with investigators to develop new surgical models to fit the study goal.

  • Brain window surgical model
  • Dorsal window chamber
  • Mammary window
  • Liver window chamber
  • Lung window chamber
  • Abdominal window chamber
  • Renal surgical model
  • Wound healing surgical model


These services are designed to facilitate the wide spread adoption of a wide range of technologies centered on in vivo optical imaging and spectroscopy. These technologies include:

  • Whole animal optical imaging. This includes bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging. X-ray imaging is also incorporated into one of our devices.
  • Window chamber surgical equipment and techniques. Dorsal, mammary, abdominal, lung and cranial windows are available (others in development).
  • Microscopy techniques. Intravital microscopy is available including fluorescence and hyperspectral imaging. In addition a scanning stage fluorescence microscope is available for histological imaging.
  • Endpoints include hemoglobin saturation, flow velocity, fluorescence sensing, cell tracking, vascular mapping.
  • Optical spectroscopy and quantitative modeling and extraction of tissue optical properties including absorber and fluorophore concentrations.
  • Endpoints include hemoglobin concentration and oxygen saturation, fluorophore concentration.

For more informations, visit Optical Molecular Imaging And Analysis.


  • User outreach (website, seminars, mailing lists)
  • Discussion of user's application / study design
  • Develop the surgical model if needed
  • Development of techniques / acquisition of technology if needed
  • Training
  • Data collection (chargebacks are calculated per hour of use)
  • Discussion/assistance with analysis as needed
  • Discussion/assistance with interpretation of results as needed