The working group molecular imaging investigates new chemically sensitive linear and non-linear spectroscopic contrast mechanisms, laser technologies and detection techniques for multi-contrast and multi-parameter imaging of biological and biomedical target structures (e.g. pathogens and their antibiotic resistance, tumor cells, tissue samples, cell organelles, marker molecules such as drugs, organs, etc.). The application focus is on molecular and functional diagnostics in medicine and the life sciences. In addition, the working group molecular imaging focuses on the integration of the investigated multimodal approaches into compact clinically usable automated systems with high TRL levels for preclinical and prospective clinical studies. The clinical focus is on infectious diseases and tumor diseases, as these diseases have a high medical need for early diagnosis and therapy.
Innovative multimodal molecular imaging approaches will be explored with a focus on nonlinear contrast phenomena with the aim to visualize biomolecules in cells, tissues and organs. Furthermore, the research work focuses on the realization of linear Raman spectroscopic assays for pathogen diagnostics and their resistance determination, with the aim of covering the entire workflow from sample preparation to result in the shortest possible time. In addition to the realization of compact setups for clinical use, the technological research focus is on the optimization and improvement of key parameters such as: spatial and spectral resolution, acquisition time, spectral bandwidth of detection, sensitivity (single photon counting method), molecular specificity or penetration depth.
The application focus of the researched multimodal imaging approaches and linear Raman spectroscopic assays are an improved disease diagnosis and therapy as well as new insights into dynamic life processes. Furthermore, in close cooperation with physicians and life scientists, new fields of application for molecular imaging are constantly being developed.