The Institute is finding its new home in two stories of a 100,000 sq.ft. University of Iowa Pappajohn Bioengineering Discovery Building opened in October 2014 – the floor plan and photographs are provided below.

The IIBI space in this new building (30,897 sq.ft.) is devoted to human, large, and small animal imaging, image analysis, computational support, visualization, and biostatistical support. The IIBI space in the new building (see figures below) form a new integrated home for a large number of image analysis projects that are currently ongoing at the University of Iowa and will therefore further enhance close interaction within the University of Iowa biomedical imaging community.

The new PBDB building. Left: Two IIBI floors located in basement and lower (=ground) level. Right: The building construction is almost complete – construction camera image from August 29, 2014.


The opening of the new facility, which is 100% devoted to research, while adjacent to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, represents a new chapter in IIBI’s existence and adds 30,897 sq.ft. of new imaging research space to IIBI, for a total of over 37,000 sq.ft. dedicated to small and large animal, and human imaging. The new facility brings together small animal housing (managed by the Office of Animal Resources); 1 floor of small animal imaging (5,544 sq.ft.) with 10 scanner rooms, behavioral rooms, as well as research staff office space; and another floor (20,081 sq.ft.) devoted to human and large animal imaging and translational medicine research with 4 large scanner bays, cardiovascular imaging suite, LINAC radiation delivery bay (animal research only), visualization lab space, subject preparation rooms, meeting rooms and student/postdoc office cubicles. Research faculty/staff offices (2,627 sq.ft.) are adjacent. Animal housing is located in the basement of the new building, with 7,225 sq.ft. of animal vivarium space completed at the time of opening offering barrier and non-barrier housing, animal preparation rooms, and animal surgical suites (2,645 sq.ft.), with additional 22,689 sq.ft. of future vivarium expansion space built and unfinished (framed) at this time.


In the imaging space, a complete separation of human and animal access has been an important part of the programmatic design, animal and human research can be conducted simultaneously at different imaging bays with complete separation of access routes. Similarly, small animal scanners can be used for barrier and non-barrier animals with two separate and secured access doors from two separate hallways. Additionally, three of the four ground-level imaging scanner bays have been designed in a modular way with a removable wall to allow relatively easy way to install and/or replace whole-body imaging scanners as well as to allow installation of scanners from different manufacturers. The fourth large scanner bay has been specifically designed for a 7T MR scanner which has been delivered in June 2014, is currently being installed and will be fully functionality by November/December 2014. Existing IIBI space in two adjacent buildings houses a dedicated research 3T MR scanning facility (1,500 sq.ft.) and a dedicated dual-source CT scanning facility (1,800 sq.ft.).  Additional 3,000 sq.ft. of computer-lab student cubicle space is available in a short walking distance. The IIBI facility is connected with a state-of-the-art Data Processing facility that houses University file servers, compute-servers, data analysis clusters, and is connected to the IIBI space with ultrafast network connection (10 Gb/sec network speed).


The remaining 6 floors of the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building house translational research wet labs and will be occupied by research programs that require animal and translational imaging, visualization, and quantitative analysis support. The following research groups will find their new home in the wet-lab space on upper floors of the building: Diabetes Research Center, Pulmonary Airway Biology Center, Cardiovascular Research Center, Neuroscience Institute, and Lung Biology Center.

IIBI image acquisition space. Left: Small animal imaging scanner room. Optical imaging scanners will be installed in this room. Right: 7 Tesla whole-body MR scanner being installed in IIBI. This $8 million and 42-ton scanner is one of only about 20 such scanners installed in the US and only 40 are available worldwide.

Large-animal and human scanner rooms. Three such scanner rooms have been built for IIBI’s research use. One of them will house 3 Tesla MR/PET multi-modality whole-body scanner. A spectral CT scanner is planned for scanner room 2 – a large instrumetation grant has been submitted to the NIH to suport this device acquisition.

IIBI’s Visualization Lab space at late stages of construction in August 2014. The room has been fully completed and furniture (work-desk) installation is underway. See the envisioned configuration of the lab shown in Fig. 7 in the next section.


The small animal imaging suite will be – at the time of facility opening in the fall of 2014 - equipped with the following small animal imaging scanners:

  • Visualsonics Vevo small animal ultrasound scanner
  • Optical/fluorescein imaging scanner
  • Micro-PET scanner
  • Micro PET/SPECT multimodality scanner
  • Micro CT scanner
  • Gamma camera
  • Specimen microtome
  • Autoradiography
  • Super-resolution microscope
  • IVIS small-animal optical imaging pre-clinical scanner

Four of ten small animal imaging bays, including a double-sized micro-MR bay, have been prepared for new devices to be acquired and installed to support small animal/translational imaging research. Magnetic and RF shielding has been installed to support a small animal MRI scanner up to 9.4T.


The large animal/human imaging floor will - at the time of facility opening - offer:

  • GE 950 7T MRI whole body scanner
  • LINAC radiation delivery / Mega-voltage CT scanner
  • Cardiovascular ultrasound scanner
  • Ophthalmic imaging scanners (3D retinal SD-OCT Zeiss Meditec, 3D SD-OCT Topcon 1000, retinal photography, visual function testing device)
  • Space assigned for 3D/4D virtual/augmented reality visualization laboratory
  • A whole-body human/animal dual-source CT research suite is located in an adjacent building
  • A whole-body 3T MR human/animal research suite – ready for MR-PET functionality upgrade; an order has been placed
  • Two additional large scanner bays (both capable of housing PET and/or CT scanners, one of them equipped with MR shielding for scanners up to 3T) are ready to accept new whole-body imaging devices to support large animal/human/translational imaging research.