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We detail a new near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) catheter for 2-dimensional intravascular molecular imaging of plaque biology in vivo. The NIRF catheter can visualize key biological processes such as inflammation by reporting on the presence of plaque-avid activatable and targeted NIR fluorochromes. The catheter utilizes clinical engineering and power requirements and is targeted for application in human coronary arteries. The following research study describes a multimodal imaging strategy that utilizes a novel in vivo intravascular NIRF catheter to image and quantify inflammatory plaque in proteolytically active inflamed rabbit atheromata.