Targeting immune cell dynamics by longitudinal wholebody imaging and mathematical modelling

Principal investigators: Klaus Schäfers, Benedikt Wirth
Project number: CRC 1450 A05
Project term: 01/2021–12/2024

Graphical abstract
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We develop strategies for tracking and quantifying (immune) cell populations or even single cells in long-term (days) whole-body PET studies in mice and humans (1). This will be achieved through novel acquisition protocols, measured and simulated phantom data (2), use of prior information from MRI and microscopy, mathematical modelling, and mathematical analysis of image reconstruction with novel regularization paradigms based on optimal transport (3).

Particular applications include imaging and tracking of macrophages and neutrophils following myocardial ischemia-reperfusion or in arthritis and sepsis (4) with a future potential to translate into clinical algorithms (5).


Principal investigators

Project members


The names of the principal investigators in our network have been bolded. Publications released prior to 2021, when funding for our network commenced, represent previous project-related work.


Schmitzer B, Schafers KP, Wirth B. Dynamic Cell Imaging in PET With Optimal Transport Regularization. IEEE Trans Med Imaging 2020;39: 1626-1635. Abstract


Schmitzer B, Wirth B. Dynamic models of Wasserstein-1-type unbalanced transport. Esaim: Cocv 2019;25: 23. Abstract
Schmitzer B, Wirth B. A Framework for Wasserstein-1-Type Metrics. J. Convex Anal. 2019;26: 353-396. Abstract


Bolwin K, Czekalla B, Frohwein LJ, Büther F, Schäfers KP. Anthropomorphic thorax phantom for cardio-respiratory motion simulation in tomographic imaging. Phys Med Biol 2018;63: 035009. Abstract
Clason C, Tameling C, Wirth B. Vector-Valued Multibang Control of Differential Equations. SIAM J. Control Optim. 2018;56: 2295-2326. Abstract
Frohwein LJ, Hess M, Schlicher D, Bolwin K, Büther F, Jiang X, Schäfers KP. PET attenuation correction for flexible MRI surface coils in hybrid PET/MRI using a 3D depth camera. Phys Med Biol 2018;63: 025033. Abstract


Bolwin K, Vernekohl D, Lühder J, Czekalla B, Wessels JP, Schäfers KP. Development of a clear sub-millimeter small animal PET scanner by reducing the influence of the non-collinearity effect. J. Inst. 2017;12: C03006-C03006. Abstract


Bredies K, Pock T, Wirth B. A Convex, Lower Semicontinuous Approximation of Euler's Elastica Energy. SIAM J. Math. Anal. 2015;47: 566-613. Abstract
Frohwein LJ, Hoerr V, Faber C, Schäfers KP. Correction of MRI-induced geometric distortions in whole-body small animal PET-MRI. Med. Phys. 2015;42: 3848-3858. Abstract


Schäfers KP, Bolwin K, Büther F, Hermann S, Jacobs AH, Kösters T, Kuhlmann M, Schäfers M, Viel T. High-Resolution Small Animal Imaging. In: Comprehensive Biomedical Physics 2014;Elsevier, Oxford: 181-211. Abstract