Molecular Imaging

Skill level: Basic
Markus Rudin, Ph.D., Klaas Nicolay, Ph.D., Organizers 

Sunday, 20 May


The first part of this one-day course will focus on technological aspects of molecular imaging. The physical principles and technical issues associated with each of the major imaging modalities in the field will be explained. The comparison of the strengths and weaknesses should reveal the complementarities of the various techniques and illustrate the importance of fusion approaches. Probe design will be discussed in two contributions: the first part deals with the physical principles of the reporter systems, while the second contribution describes issues encountered in probe design: sensitivity, specificity, bioavailability, safety, pharmacological profiles, translatability to the clinics. Various molecular imaging applications (studies of gene expression, cell migration as well as critical disease processes like apoptosis, angiogenesis and neurodegeneration) will be discussed in the third part.

Educational Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:
Explain basic concepts and the potential of molecular imaging as a basic research tool, for diagnostics of disease processes
  and for monitoring therapeutic interventions, and explain the role of molecular versus structural and physiological readouts;
Recognize the relevance of multi-modality imaging strategies (MRI might not be the optimal method to tackle a specific problem),
  and be able to select the optimal imaging strategy for a specific problem;
Explain ‘contrast’ principles of the various reporter moieties (paramagnetic & superparamagnetic MRI contrast agents, fluorescent dyes
  and proteins, positron emitters, gamma ray emitters); recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each reporter; and
Evaluate molecular probe concepts (e.g. direct versus indirect reporter systems, basic research concept versus clinically applicable probes, etc.).

Audience Description

This course is designed for:
• Physicists, (bio)chemists, (molecular) biologists, pharmacologists and physicians with interest in imaging technologies, fusion of MRI with
  other modalities, design of molecular imaging probes, application for (early) diagnostics, staging, evaluation of therapy, and treatment
  responses (proof of therapeutic principle)
• This is a basic education course, and no special experience is required, although some experience in/exposure to imaging technologies,
  as well as basic knowledge of chemistry and biology is helpful.
08:00 Introduction Markus Rudin, Ph.D. 
08:35 Imaging technologies: Physical principles, technical issues Tobias R. Schäffter, Ph.D.
09:10 Combined technologies: MRI/PET, PET/CT, MRI/Optical –  Bernd Pichler, Ph.D.
instrumental aspects  
9:45 Break - Meet the Teachers  
Probe Design  
10:05 Concepts of probe design I: Physical principles of reporter moieties Robert N. Muller, Ph.D. 
10:40 Concepts of probe design II. Design of target-specific probes  Dmitri Artemov, Ph.D.
11:15 Concepts of probe design III. Pharmacokinetic issues  Ludger M. Dinkelborg, Ph.D.
11:50 Combined technologies: multimodal probes Willem M. Mulder, M.Sc., PhD. 
12:20 Break  
12:20 - 12:35 - Meet the Teachers  
Biomedical applications: General  
13:30 Non-invasive imaging of signaling pathways Tarik F. Massoud, M.D.
14:05 MR reporter genes - not available Eric T. Ahrens, Ph.D.
14:40 Monitoring cell migration Clemens Löwik, Ph.D.
15:25 Break - Meet the Teachers  
Biomedical applications: Specific  
15:45 Apoptosis Chris Reutelingsperger, Ph.D.
16:20 Alzheimer’s disease Michael Garwood, Ph.D..
16:55 Angiogenesis Michal Neeman, Ph.D. 
17:30 Adjournment  
17:30 - 17:45 - Meet the Teachers