Preclinical Imaging Research Laboratory (PIRL)

Faculty and Staff

Christopher Albanese, PhD, Director

Dr. Albanese is the founder and director of the PIRL and the founder and executive director of the Center for Translational Imaging (CTI). He is a tenured Professor in the Departments of Oncology and Pathology and is a full member of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Albanese has over 25 years experience in animal modeling and imaging; has over 185 peer-reviewed publications; and has been the principal investigator on many government and foundation grants. He has given numerous invited lectures on animal modeling and imaging of human diseases and performs peer-reviews for high-end equipment grants.

Dr. Albanese is responsible for defining the scientific and financial goals of the PIRL and worked directly with the Cancer Center and Medical Center administrations to ensure their implementation. Dr. Albanese is responsible for establishing scientific collaborations, for writing of both grants and manuscripts and Dr. Albanese directs the experimental design and novel applications for PIRL users and trainees.

Olga Rodriguez, MD, PhD, Co-Director

Dr. Rodriguez is the co-founder and co-director of the PIRL and co-founder of the Center for Translational Imaging (CTI). She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Oncology at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Rodriguez directs the daily imaging in the PIRL and has over 20 years of clinical and research experience. Dr. Rodriguez’s contributions to the preclinical imaging field include: a) imaging biological markers of disease; b) development of novel and improved MR protocols for the in vivo characterization of animal models of cancer, neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases and bacterial infections; c) application of advanced MRI techniques such as voxel-based morphometry and diffusion tensor imaging; and d) development of novel MRI contrast agents with simultaneous T1/T2 effects for use in in vivo imaging in conjunction with the Georgetown University Departments of Chemistry and Physics. An example of Dr. Rodriguez’s research see: application of MRI for imaging hypoxia and tumor metastases in vivo.

Dr. Rodriguez advises researchers on the efficient use and potential new applications of imaging technologies, on their experimental approach and design involving small animal imaging, and provides the research and development necessary to generate preliminary and pilot data.

Stanley Fricke, NucE, PhD

Dr. Fricke is the Medical Physicist for the PIRL. He is a Professor in the Departments of Radiology and Oncology and is a member of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Fricke is also the Director of the CAMPEP approved Medical Physics Master Degree program in the Center for Translational Imaging.

He plays a central role in the facility, with daily and weekly input related to imaging, quality control procedures, safety protocols, and diagnosis of system problems and is involved in testing and quality control monitoring of the equipment as well as developing enhanced capabilities for high resolution preclinical imaging.

Yichien Lee, PhD, Manager

Dr. Lee has over 20 years of experience in NMR and MR imaging and performs much of the day-to-day operation of the facility. He operates and maintains the Bruker Biospec 7T magnet and also provides direct support to the users.  Dr. Lee develops data and image analysis tools typically written in Matlab, and uses existing tools, both commercial and open source.

Kyle Korolowicz, Ultrasonographer

Kyle has over 7 years of animal ultrasound experience in both clinical and research settings. His background includes exploratory ultrasound techniques for quantitative measurements as well as percutaneous ultrasound guided biopsy procedures. He currently provides ultrasound services using the PIRL’s Vevo 660 and the new, updated Visualsonics Vevo 3100 ultrasound systems. Services with this system and its software include but are not limited to quantitative analysis of cardiac performance using B and M mode images as well as 3 and 4 dimensional imaging of tissue and organ systems to view in vivo function in real time.