One focus at the EIMI is the design and the chemical synthesis of new target-specific tracers, which will allow visualization not only of inflammatory processes – in particular in vascular and auto-immune diseases – but also of bacterial infections. To do so, we use scintigraphic and optical imaging methods. In parallel, we continue to improve the technical methods of molecular imaging. Our aim is to translate novel insights and imaging strategies from disease models into patients – for innovative clinical diagnostics and therapies.
Our team studies the development and pathological scenarios of the vascular system. For example, we investigate how the lymphatic system develops, acquires and maintains its characteristic properties, how tumour vessels grow and how immune cells behave in chronic inflammatory settings. For this purpose, we develop and apply state-of-the-art microscopy, which enable us to generate three-dimensional images of vessels in tissue and to observe processes intravitally, i.e. dynamically in a living organism. Another focus is the refinement of existing and development of novel disease models.
We concentrate not only on inflammation which occurs in vascular and autoimmune diseases, but also on inflammatory processes in the brain in neurodegenerative diseases, strokes and tumours of the central nervous system. We develop molecular imaging strategies to localize and quantify disease-specific parameters. Our aim is to use our insights to make better assessments of how patients respond to therapies.
Our research is supported by third-party-funding, published in numerous papers in a variety of journals, and has often been patented.
Using imaging methods to investigate processes hidden inside the body is also a central theme of the Cells-in-Motion Cluster of Excellence at the University of Münster. EIMI Director Prof. Michael Schäfers is one of the three coordinators of this research alliance. But how exactly does “molecular imaging” work? This is explained by researchers in an article on the Cluster’s website.