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In vivo molecular imaging research (IMIR).
State of the art molecular imaging research expands its expertise by implementing new imaging technology and by widening the application scope of available imaging technology (e.g. positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), bioluminescence). This is achieved by developing specific tracers, contrast agents and reporter gene constructs for novel relevant imaging targets and validating them in vivo in small animals with the aim to translate them to the clinic. In addition image acquisition, processing and analysis is improved. The Programme Financing (PF) project IMIR aims to develop novel approaches in small animal molecular imaging to advance understanding and monitoring of specific molecular processes related to relevant pathologies. The research programme focuses on the development and validation in small animals of -novel PET and/or SPECT radiolabelled tracers for to visualise the cannabinoid system, phosphodiesterases, carbonic anhydrases, necrosis, apoptosis and integrins. Application of microdialysis for PET studies -MRI contrast agents : novel magnetic nanoparticles and magneto-liposomes for cell imaging, 19F MRI agents for beta-cell imaging and responsive contrast agents to visualize cell differentiation. -Gene reporter technology using viral vectors for visualisation of fetal gene therapy, miRNA, neurogenesis and stroke evaluation. Bioluminescence reporter gene systems for in vivo visualization of apoptosis, alfa-synuclein aggregation, mitochondrial ATP and calcium -A motion correction system for microPET brain imaging in conscious animals, application of beta microprobe for in vivo PET studies, application of pinhole SPECT calibration The research projects are conducted in close collaboration with a wide multidisciplinary group of peripheral biological and life sciences partners that provide expert information and feedback based on which relevant imaging targets are selected for in depth research within the PF. The PF aims to provide a stimulating scientific environment for molecular imaging PhD students consisting of state-of-the-art infrastructure and efficient guiding by experienced post-docs and well trained technical staff. Besides performing in-depth research with regard to small animal in vivo molecular maging technology which is already available at the K.U.Leuven (microPET, microMRI, bioluminescence imaging, microCT) the PF will take the initiative and coordinate the implementation of additional complementary imaging modalities such as intravital microscopy and near infrared fluorescence tomography.
Date:1 Nov 2010 → 31 Oct 2018
Keywords:MRI, molecular imgaging, SPECT, gene reporter technology, PET