Imaging research subjects that fit in the palm of your hand—mice, rats, hamsters—requires special equipment and a skilled, patient person who will gather the imaging tests in a safe and compassionate manner. Meet Kati LaSance, research associate and manager of the Vontz Core Imaging Lab (VCIL).
Launched in 2010, the VCIL is a preclinical imaging center that offers non-invasive imaging services, performed on some of the most advanced equipment available. The lab was initially started as a collaborative effort of the departments of cancer and cell biology and radiology and is now a core facility open to any researcher affiliated with UC for use in approved research protocols.
Here LaSance tells us why more about she enjoys her role at the UC Academic Health Center.
Tell us about your job responsibilities.
"My job is very interesting and exciting. As a research associate running the day-to-day operations of the lab, I perform a variety of imaging tests for pre-clinical research. There are eight different imaging modalities in the VCIL including micro-CT, PET, and SPECT. We also have fluorescence, bioluminescence and planar X-ray. I perform in-vivo and ex-vivo pre-clinical images for cancer, cardiology, metabolic diseases and neurology research."
What do you enjoy about your job?
"They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it is never more true than when I take an image that demonstrates EXACTLY what one of our researchers is endlessly trying to prove with charts, graphs and spreadsheets. The best part of my job is when an investigator uses that ”perfect” picture I took to secure funding for their research or as a way to differentiate themselves from other researchers for publication in a top journal."
Did you always see yourself working in research/medicine?
"Yes, I have always been interested in the medical field and my background is in medical imaging, specifically nuclear medicine/radiology. Prior to coming to UC, all of my experience has been on the non-research, clinical side of medicine. I have an associate’s degree of applied science in nuclear medicine from UC-Blue Ash. The imaging procedures I perform on the animals, I had been doing in children and adults for over 20 years. I worked at Dayton Children’s Hospital before I came to UC. Now that I have been on the research side, I am fascinated every day. I feel fortunate to be a part of a variety of research projects."
How do you spend your time when you are not working?
"My favorite hobbies are soccer, swimming, cooking and reading. I play a little adult soccer, but I mostly referee little kids' soccer games. I also enjoy spending time with my husband and our two sons."