Group of people cutting a red ribbon in front of building

Sacramento’s newest science center unveiled, includes UC Davis technology

EXPLORER Total Body Scanner on display in Health Headlines and Innovation exhibit gallery


Sacramento’s newest science center, the SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity (MOSAC) was unveiled Friday before donors, community members and elected officials. As part of the event, visitors received their first glimpse at the current Health Headlines and Innovation exhibit gallery and future Health Gallery, sponsored by UC Davis Health.

In attendance was Chief Administrator of UC Davis Medical Center and Chief Operating Officer of UC Davis Health’s Hospital Division Brad Simmons, who helped with the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“UC Davis Health is honored to partner with MOSAC to bring its Health Headlines and the future Health Gallery to the Sacramento region,” said Simmons. “Innovation and groundbreaking research are fundamental to our organization’s mission and we are proud to showcase advancements in tools, treatments, and therapies that will improve treatment and enhance patient care in our community.”

UC Davis Health is home to the first ever total-body PET scanner. EXPLORER is a game changer in diagnosing and treating many diseases, such as cancer, arthritis and cardiovascular disease.

Among the first items on display in the Health Headlines and Innovation exhibit gallery is a model of the EXPLORER Total Body Scanner, developed at UC Davis, which can take an instant snapshot of the entire body in seconds.

EXPLORER was the brainchild of Simon Cherry, distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Ramsey Badawi, professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Radiology.

“We used the mockup to look at how subjects would experience the scanner, including whether it caused claustrophobia, which turned out not to be a problem,” said Cherry. “We also used it to develop some methods to track how people moved around during a scan and to determine how to best design the bed.”

EXPLORER is unique in that it can image the entire body simultaneously, looking for diseased tissue. This approach is an improvement over traditional positron emission tomography (PET) scanners, which can scan only in 20-centimeter segments at a time and take more than 15 minutes to image a patient.

“The EXPLORER story is a great example of how MOSAC and UC Davis Health are collaborating to bring medical and health breakthroughs to the public,” said Michele Wong, executive director of MOSAC. “Many of our visitors can relate to medical imaging personally or via family or friends, and this opportunity to spark their curiosity about how these technologies work, what makes EXPLORER different and, how it advances our understanding of conditions like long-haul COVID helps to show how innovations in health and medicine are helping us to be healthier. We will continually showcase these stories of research and technology through short-term, temporary exhibits. The story of EXPLORER is a great way to premiere this gallery.”

The future Health Gallery at MOSAC will highlight examples of the powerful technology used in medicine, breakthrough scientific research, and detailed understanding of public health programs and the healthcare system. As a regional health leader, UC Davis Health’s 15-year, $3 million investment in the Health Gallery will help to create exhibits showing advancements in fields such as medical imaging and personalized cellular therapies, rapidly changing “headlines” in health research, and local examples of public health programming that are making a difference in our region.

MOSAC’s opening weekend for the public is Nov. 13-14, including the Health Headlines and Innovation exhibit. The full Health Gallery experience is expected to be installed in 2023.

UC Davis Medical Center is a comprehensive academic medical center where clinical practice, teaching and research converge to advance human health. Centers of excellence include the National Cancer Institute-designated UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center; the region's only Level 1 pediatric and adult trauma centers; the UC Davis MIND Institute, devoted to finding treatments and cures for neurodevelopmental disorders; and the UC Davis Children's Hospital. The medical center serves a 33-county, 65,000-square-mile area that stretches north to the Oregon border and east to Nevada. It further extends its reach through the award-winning telemedicine program, which gives remote, medically underserved communities throughout California unprecedented access to specialty and subspecialty care. For more information, visit