Irradiation and Animal Core

The Irradiation and Animal Core (IAC) maintains and operates sources of ionizing radiation for research use. Services performed by the core staff include training in the operation of the sources, advice to users on the design of experiments using radiation, scheduling use of the sources, operating the sources when necessary, dosimetry for new experimental setups, and maintenance and repair of the resources. The core is equipped with two cesium source irradiators (Mark 1, model 68A, and Model 81-8, Shepherd Inc.), Seifert Isovolt 320 X-ray generator, and the Small Animal Radiation Research Platform (SARRP, Xstrahl) and Rad Source RS-2000 biological X-ray cabinet.  The core also has the capability to deliver a broad range of dose rates for a variety of purposes, such as irradiation of cell suspensions, animal tumors or other partial-body irradiations at dose rates comparable to those used in external beam radiotherapy.

Nukhet Aykin-Burns, Ph.D. (Director; Irradiation and Animal Core)

Dr. Aykin-Burns received her PhD in chemistry from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Free Radical and Radiation Biology Program at the University of Iowa, one of the world’s premier programs in free radical chemistry and radiation biology. She has many years’ experience in irradiation techniques and in vivo experimental models.

Charles A. O’Brien, Ph.D. (Co-Investigator; Irradiation and Animal Core)

Charles O’Brien, Ph.D., is a Professor and a CAVHS Research Scientist; and the director of the UAMS Genetic Models Core. He is a molecular biologist trained at Oklahoma and Yale Universities. His work focuses on the molecular control of osteoclastogenesis and bone turnover in healthy and disease states. With many years of experience in the development and maintenance of genetic animal models, Dr. O’Brien will provide advice to Center for Studies of Host Response to Cancer Therapy investigators in his area of expertise.

Generation and phenotyping of transgenic animals

  • Discussion of options for transgenic animals
  • Assistance in preparation of DNA constructs
  • Communication with the UAMS Transgenic Mouse Core Facility to ensure that the proper transgenic animals are produced for the purpose of the project
  • Advice and technical assistance with regard to optimal breeding schemes and phenotyping of transgenic animals

Implementation of optimal breeding schemes

  • Assistance in setting up and maintaining breeding-colony schemes of newly generated and existing transgenic animal models
  • Assistance in genotyping and maintaining records of mice generated in breeding colonies

Animal use protocols

  • Assistance in animal use protocol preparation and annual reporting to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

Irradiation services

  • Maintenance of irradiators, dosimetry
  • Assistance in design and development of new animal or cell culture irradiation models
  • Assistance in whole body or localized irradiation of animal models
  • Assistance in radiation exposure of cell cultures

Equipment and Facilities

Core maintains equipment and provides experimental support:

  • Mark 1 Model 68A (J.L. Shepherd) cesium source irradiator, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
  • Model 81-8 (J.L. Shepherd) cesium source irradiator for chronic γ-ray exposures, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
  • Seifert Isovolt 320 X-ray generator, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
  • Small Animal Radiation Research Platform (SARRP, Xstrahl), Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
  • RS-2000 (Rad Source) biological X-ray cabinet, Biomedical Research Building 2
  • Strontium-90 applicators (Eckert & Ziegler), Biomedical Research Building 2

Core provides experimental support only:


Our new powerful and customizable Small Animal Radiation Research Platform constructed by Xstrahl (Camberley, United Kingdom) is based on state-of-the-art Image Guided Micro-Irradiation (IGM™) techniques containing a high accuracy cone beam CT imaging system and a high dose delivery therapeutic X-ray source in a single platform which will make it possible to target local spontaneous tumor.  This enables us to pinpoint an exact anatomical target and confidently deliver 0.5mm beams to that point.


Chronic irradiation facility: Division of Radiation Health at UAMS has established a chronic irradiation facility using a 2.5-Ci Cs-137 radiation source (Model 81-8, J.L.Shepherd), which is capable of scattering radiation in all direction at dose rate of approximately 0.1 cGy/h. The facility has been modified as a satellite animal facility so that animals can be housed and irradiated for days/weeks/months.  At least 30 big or 60 small animal cages can be placed around the source.