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Small Animal Ultrasonography Core

High-frequency ultrasound allows for non-invasive, in vivo, real time, high resolution imaging of tissue function and structure. The small animal ultrasonography core, led by Dr. Kang Kim and Dr. Charles McTiernan, provides expertise and state-of-the-art high frequency ultrasound instrumentation suitable for image acquisition and analysis applicable to your research studies. The Fuji/Visualsonics Vevo 3100 instrument can be used for applications in multiple research areas including Oncology, Abdominal, Cardiovascular, and Developmental studies.



TAC – Pulsed Wave Doppler

TAC – Color Doppler

Strain (Normal)

Strain Dyssynchrony


Vevo 3100

The Fuji/Visualsonics Vevo 3100 is a state-of-the-art high-resolution ultrasound imaging machine used to perform ultrasounds on small animals.  The scanner has high temporal and spatial resolution; current imaging probes utilize frequencies from 13-55 MHz.


  • ECG Triggered Analysis
  • M-Mode
  • Anatomical M-Mode
  • Pulsed-Wave Doppler
  • Pulsed-Wave Tissue Doppler
  • Color Doppler
  • Power Doppler
  • Contrast Imaging
  • 3D-Mode/4D-Mode


MX250 (Centre Freq. 20 MHz)
MX400 (Centre Freq. 30 MHz)
MX550 (Centre Freq. 40 Mhz)

Vevo Lab

Vevo Lab allows users to analyze their data at their own PC and offers advanced tools to measure and characterize indicators of cardiovascular disease progression.

Vevo Vasc

Vevo Vasc is a vascular strain analysis specifically for studying vascular diseases.  It provides both qualitative and quantitative tools to evaluate early signs of vascular disease.  It is particularly useful for the analysis of models with aneurysms, vascular grafts or atherosclerosis.

Vevo Strain

Vevo Strain allows early detection of the myocardial deformation that typically develops before detectable changes in ejection fraction.  This technology is especially useful for studies of myocardial infarction, diabetic cardiomyopathy, cardiac hypertrophy, and cardiomyopathy secondary to renal disease.


An ECG monitor, contained within the animal warming pad, allows one to monitor heart rate, respiration, and body temperature. The Rail System allows for micro manipulation of the transducer, as well as the ability to perform 3D/4D imaging. An isoflurane vaporizer with an induction chamber allows appropriate delivery of anesthetic agent so as to maintain an appropriate heart rate throughout the ultrasound imaging session.


The links below will allow you to create a customer account so that you can download the Vevo Lab software onto your computer.  After creating an account, you will have access to a plethora of journal articles, webinars, and JoVE videos that can guide you on using the machine and software analysis programs.

After registering, follow the link below to download the VevoLab software.



Dr. Kang Kim

Dr. Charles McTiernan


Brenda McMahon, BS, RDMS (AB, FE, OB/GYN), RT(R)
Brenda has many years of clinical ultrasound experience, including fetal echocardiography, abdominal, high risk OB/GYN, small parts, and vascular ultrasound.  She looks forward to discussing how ultrasound can benefit your research studies.




The small animal ultrasound core is located within the Vascular Medicine Institute, Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh on the 12th floor of the Biomedical Science Tower East. After consultation with the Core Sonographer/Manager, the core instrumentation can be moved to animal housing facilities for repetitive survival imaging.

How to Schedule Services

Investigators will set up a consultation meeting with the sonographer to discuss the research plans in detail and the use of ultrasound for your research and to determine a time line for completion of your study. If you would like to use our services, please follow the link below and review/complete the Ultrasound Request Form. Please submit the completed form to After receipt, the consultation meeting will be scheduled between the investigator’s team and the Core Sonographer to review your imaging needs. To view the availability for the machine, please follow the link below.  Please note reservations cannot be made until an initial meeting has been completed.

There are three general categories of fee-for-services. 1) The investigative team can utilize the services of sonographer to acquire images from the study animals. 2) After demonstrated competency in the appropriate use of the instrument, the investigator can ‘rent’ use of the Vevo 3100 and acquire images themselves. 3) The sonographer can analyze data (acquired by either the sonographer or the investigator’s team members), or train the investigator’s team members in instrument usage or data analysis. Investigators or their team members can perform analysis of their own data for free by downloading analytic programs from FujiVisualsonics and arranging to sign out the license dongle from the sonography core.

The Fee categories are listed below:


Fee Category

Fee Per Hour

Sonographer and Vevo 3100 $117
Vevo 3100 Rental Only $107
Core Sonographer Analysis/Training $65


Institutional Animal Care and Use

All procedures are performed in accordance with guidelines set forth by the University of Pittsburgh Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.  At the initial planning meeting a text suitable for inclusion into your IACUC protocol can be provided.


The core is supported by an NIH shared instrument grant.  Please acknowledge this S10 grant support in your publications.

NIH 1S10OD023684-01A1; Advanced High Resolution Rodent Ultrasound Imaging System


Publications/Abstracts that involved the Core

We ask that users please update the Core on publications and presentations that have utilized the services of the core.

Rutledge C, Cater G, McMahon B, Guo L, Nouraie SM, Wu Y, Villanueva F, Kaufman BA. Commercial 4-dimensional echocardiography for murine heart volumetric evaluation after myocardial infarction. Cardiovasc Ultrasound. 2020 Mar 12;18(1):9. doi: 10.1186/s12947-020-00191-5. PMID: 32164714; PMCID: PMC7068892.

Manning JR, Thapa D, Zhang M, Stoner MW, Traba J, McTiernan CF, Corey C, Shiva S, Sack MN, Scott I. (2019) Cardiac-specific deletion of GCN5L1 restricts recovery from ischemia-reperfusion injury. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 129:69-78. PMID: 30776374. PMCID: PMC6486843. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2019.02.009.