Three-Dimensional Deep-Tissue Functional and Molecular Imaging by Integrated Photoacoustic, Ultrasound, and Angiographic Tomography (PAUSAT)

Mucong Li, Nathan Beaumont, Chenshuo Ma, Juan Rojas, Tri Vu, Max Harlacher, Graeme O'Connell, Ryan C. Gessner, Hailey Kilian, Ludmila Kasatkina, Yong Chen, Qiang Huang, Xiling Shen, Jonathan F. Lovell, Vladislav V. Verkhusha, Tomek Czernuszewicz, Junjie Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Non-invasive small-animal imaging technologies, such as optical imaging, magnetic resonance imaging and x-ray computed tomography, have enabled researchers to study normal biological phenomena or disease progression in their native conditions. However, existing small-animal imaging technologies often lack either the penetration capability for interrogating deep tissues (e.g., optical microscopy), or the functional and molecular sensitivity for tracking specific activities (e.g., magnetic resonance imaging). To achieve functional and molecular imaging in deep tissues, we have developed an integrated photoacoustic, ultrasound and acoustic angiographic tomography (PAUSAT) system by seamlessly combining light and ultrasound. PAUSAT can perform three imaging modes simultaneously with complementary contrast: high-frequency B-mode ultrasound imaging of tissue morphology, microbubble-enabled acoustic angiography of tissue vasculature, and multi-spectral photoacoustic imaging of molecular probes. PAUSAT can provide three-dimensional (3D) multi-contrast images that are co-registered, with high spatial resolutions at large depths. Using PAUSAT, we performed proof-of-concept in vivo experiments on various small animal models: monitoring longitudinal development of placenta and embryo during mouse pregnancy, tracking biodistribution and metabolism of near-infrared organic dye on the whole-body scale, and detecting breast tumor expressing genetically-encoded photoswitchable phytochromes. These results have collectively demonstrated that PAUSAT has broad applicability in biomedical research, providing comprehensive structural, functional, and molecular imaging of small animal models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2704-2714
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • Deep-tissue imaging
  • acoustic angiography
  • functional imaging
  • molecular imaging
  • photoacoustic imaging
  • photoswitchable protein
  • ultrasound imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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