The rapid advances in imaging technology enable to see inside the body with ever increasing detail. Advanced microscopy allows visualization of dynamic processes within a cell and even in the living body, whereas medical imaging focuses on cells and tissues in patients. Consequently, Biomedical Imaging allows to study health and disease on the scales “from molecule to man”.
Aims of our research
The LUMC research profile Biomedical Imaging aims to develop novel imaging strategies for:
- early diagnosis of diseases
- individual tailoring of treatments (Personalized Medicine) and
- minimally invasive, image-guided interventions.
To realize this, the LUMC hosts experts in the field of imaging hardware and software, image processing, animal model systems, chemical synthesis of contrast agents, multimodal labelling technologies as well as specialized preparation techniques, and clinical imaging experts. Their activities range from biology-driven technology development, to preclinical research and to clinical use of imaging techniques.
The LUMC research profile Biomedical Imaging has the ambition to foster and sustain the synergy between the various Biomedical Imaging research groups in strong, coherent and competitive research programs. In addition it aims to provide supportive methodology and technology to other research profiles of the LUMC, e.g. Cancer Pathogenesis and Therapy, Translational Neurosciences, Immunity Infectious Diseases and Tolerance, Vascular and Regenerative Medicine and Ageing.
Focus on three major themes
Molecular pathways are studied using advanced microscopic imaging techniques. This program will stimulate the application of advanced high-resolution time-lapse live cell imaging of fluorescent-labelled (e.g. GFP) cellular molecules. In addition, high throughput-high content (HT/HC)) imaging (screening) of cell systems will be applied in combination with RNA libraries to interrogate signalling mechanism.
For the latter, a more intensive use of the equipment present at LACDR (Science Faculty) is envisioned. Ultrastructural studies and validation can be performed using the advanced electron microscopy infrastructure for (cryo) electron microscopy and correlative light and electron microscopy techniques present at the LUMC and NeCEN (Science Faculty).
This program comprises development and application of novel chemistries, labelling, acquisition and analysis technologies for quantitative multimodal multiscale imaging. In collaborative frameworks this program will focus on probe chemistry (to make imaging more specific), instrumentation design (to optimize image quality, resolution and radiation dose) and image processing (to increase quantitative and reproducible imaging). Novel multimodal/hybrid labels are developed that allow simultaneous visualization based on fluorescence, radioactivity and magnetic resonance. We aim to maximally integrate the existing expertise and infrastructure, and make connections to the translation research imaging chain in the LUMC, from light and electron microscopy to animal and clinical imaging.
Transfer of novel imaging strategies to the clinic
One of our aims is to develop novel molecular markers and imaging technologies to a level so that they can be used in the clinic. Therefore, novel markers and technologies are evaluated in disease-specific animal models in close collaboration with LUMC researchers active in other research profile areas. We envision 4 routes of clinical translation:
- Novel diagnostic imaging techniques, deploying high-field MR scanners for early detection of neurological, cardiovascular, inflammatory and neoplastic diseases in the clinic.
- Image guided interventions, to use advanced imaging to improve surgical and catheter interventions,
- Imaging for evaluation of novel therapies, to evaluate the effects of treatment innovations e.g. novel drugs, prostheses, stem-cell therapies, including treatment response in individual patients.
- Novel (imaging) biomarker exploitation, where imaging biomarkers discovered in life-sciences and epidemiological imaging research are translated towards patient stratification.
The Biomedical Imaging research profile hosts a state-of-the-art imaging infrastructure to visualize and investigate structures with a size scale ranging from molecule to man. This includes electron and light microscopy facilities, pre-clinical optical, Nuclear, MR and CT imaging, as well as clinical imaging to facilitate the translation of novel imaging strategies into (top-referral) patient care.
Dutch science agenda
The medical research profile Biomedical Imaging participates in the Nationale Wetenschapsagenda (in Dutch).