They are among the most common causes of death worldwide, and not just since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. Infectious diseases are caused by mostly microscopic organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites and are transmitted from person to person. To enable young researchers to develop innovative methods for better diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, the European Marie Skłodowska-Curie training network IMAGE-IN was launched in 2020.

Coordinated by Leibniz IPHT, leading institutions from research and medicine join forces with companies from Germany and Portugal to offer international young researchers excellent training in the field of imaging and data analysis in this ­International Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Union. The program includes stations at various partner institutions, such as Jena University Hospital and the Portuguese software company BMD in Aveiro.

„The researchers gain insights into medical needs and learn imaging and ­spectroscopic techniques,“ explains Ute Neugebauer, whose research ­department ­“Clinical Spectroscopic Diagnostics“ is involved in IMAGE-IN. This includes ­molecular imaging as well as multi-scale visualization of infections and host ­responses for accurate diagnostics and personalized treatment.

„In order to extract the crucial information from the large, ­multidimensional amounts of data produced by imaging techniques, we provide the ability to handle and analyze this data,“ adds Thomas Bocklitz, head of the research ­department „Photonic Data Science.“ To better understand the pathogenesis of difficult-to-treat infections, the researchers combine data from different ­imaging techniques. The research departments „Spectroscopy / Imaging“ and ­“Microscopy“ with Jürgen Popp and Rainer Heintzmann are also significantly involved in the training network.

IMAGE-IN: Imaging Infections – integrated, multiscale visualization of ­infections and host response