Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Engineering (M.S.E.)

Degree Program

School of Engineering


Introduction: Preclinical imaging laboratories are unique and specialized facilities that generally operate as service cores within large research institutions. The facilities offer non-invasive imaging to researchers to answer scientific questions. Facilities, such as the one located within the Van Andel Institute, have multiple imaging modalities including PET, CT, SPECT, ultrasound, and optical. These modalities often times come from different manufacturers involving various image formats. Imaging facility managers are responsible for managing collaborative projects, coordinating different groups, scheduling machine and technician time, billing customers, as well as providing meaningful and reliable results to the researchers. These challenges underscore the need for a management system that provides automated tools for designing, scheduling and overseeing the efficient completion of studies. We have developed a system for managing most aspects of an imaging facility to optimize efficiency, decrease errors, provide reliable results and to potentially lay the foundation and framework for other preclinical imaging facilities.

Methods: An entirely web-based architecture was chosen for the system to allow for ease of access from any location. The system includes tools for managing projects, data management and finance management. Project management using the system includes scheduling longitudinal studies and personnel coordination such as automated emailing services for tasks and next steps in the project. Data management within the system allows for DICOM image storage, backup, retrieval and post analysis. Post analysis techniques include region of interest (ROI) drawing, image manipulation and SUV for PET data. To evaluate the system for efficiency, PET/CT studies were completed using the system as well as without the system. Scheduling, billing, and post analysis was timed for both scenarios.

Results: It was found that the designed system increased scheduling efficiency by 93%, billing by 87.3% and post analysis by 75%. Manual intervention from the SAIF manager and SAIF members for PET/CT studies was also decreased by 82%.

Conclusions: The system increased efficiency within a preclinical imaging facility and can be a used to promote a new concept of managing for other facilities as well. As a web-based system it is open architecture allowing for continual expansion as needs grow more complex.