The Institute

The European Institute for Molecular Imaging (EIMI) was established in 2007 and is a central scientific institution at the University of Münster. Faculties involved include Medicine, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Physics.

Our scientific area is part of the research profile “cell dynamics, inflammation and imaging” at the University of Münster, and many scientists of our institute are members of the Cells in Motion Interfaculty Centre. This interfaculty research network brings together researchers in the above-mentioned research field. By joining forces, we embed the specific scientific topics of our institute into a larger thematic context, and, at the same time, the network is an incubator for new interdisciplinary research questions.

Our institute is located in the Multiscale Imaging Centre (MIC) which is the Cells in Motion Interfaculty Centre's central research building. It hosts research groups from our University combining a broad range of state of the art imaging technologies for the investigation of biomedical questions. EIMI director Prof. Michael Schäfers is the spokesperson for the MIC.

Picture: A view of an imaging lab
© EIMI/Peter Leßmann

Seeing Helps Understanding

We use imaging technologies to gain new insights into physiological vessel development and the pathophysiology of vascular diseases, inflammation and infection, neurodegeneration and cancer. At the same time, we develop existing and new technologies and thereby continuously expand the spectrum of imaging.

The EIMI is unique, hosting biomedical studies that employ imaging technologies to investigate the entire range of biological dimensions ranging from multiprotein complexes to humans. We analyse individual cells and their molecular components in tissue explants and cultures at high resolution, but also investigate molecular processes in entire living organism. To cover this broad spectrum, we use besides various light microscopes, fluorescence, luminescence, ultrasound, radiology and scintigraphy-based methods. Mastering this broad spectrum of methods represents a huge challenge since each technology is based on a different physical principle and has besides its strengths but also limits.

An outstanding opportunity: Our comprehensive imaging approach not only provides basic insights into the molecular regulation of cellular processes but also translates into novel imaging-based diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. We offer research-oriented training to medical, natural sciences and mathematics students as well as to interdisciplinary (junior) researchers.

Group photo of the EIMI team
© EIMI/Michael Kuhlmann

Interdisciplinary Power

A distinctive feature of the EIMI is the close interaction of physicians, biologists, chemists, physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists – in the lab and at their desks. Their different approaches stimulate creativity, resulting in innovative ideas how advanced imaging technologies can be used to bridge basic research and clinical medicine.

We investigate physiological processes to understand fundamental cell biological mechanisms and to identify molecules which could specifically inform about pathological processes. Once such targets have been identified, we develop labelled chemical substances (tracers) that target these disease-associated molecules. The signals emitted by these tracers can be measured and converted into images. In addition, we develop new approaches to improve imaging sensitivity, to optimally reconstruct images through mathematical modeling, and to process and visualize complex and large imaging data sets via novel high-performance algorithms.