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X-Regio BMBF

In modern medicine, one essential aim is the development of new techniques that enable to realize an efficient, careful, gentle, considerate and minimal invasive therapy of diseases. An essential prerequisite for the success of causal curative as well as alleviating therapy strategies is gaining fundamental knowledge about structure, properties and functionality and their interrelation of biomaterials, cells, intercellular networks, tissues and organs. This is strongly related with the progress in powerful tools of diagnostics & analytics.

Understanding of biological and toxic processes supported or suppressed by pharmaceuticals, by biocompatible materials or by potentially toxic environmental influences requires an ensemble of sophisticated analytical tools based on physical, chemical and biological interactions. Considering here the important group of physical imaging methods, the grand challenge in imaging organisms down to cells lies in capturing 2D and 3D structural and chemical information over several length scales and in correlating this information with biological function. Further, imaging structure along with trace element distributions is particularly important for understanding biological functions.

Biological imaging in the context of the proposed project needs ability of imaging the different hierarchical levels of organs and tissues down to cellular networks, single cells and even at the sub-cellular level.

X-REGIO faces up to above challenges. That demands realizing imaging on different levels of resolution from a few hundred micrometers down to the range of a few ten nanometre, probing different depths (surfaces, cross sections, and volumes), all due to the hierarchical organization of building blocks in  living organisms. Thus, it requires an ensemble of complementary methods employing distinct physical interaction principles leading to different penetration depth and interaction lengths, various contrast mechanisms and different regimes of spatial resolution.

Fundamental innovation in X-ray optics, detectors and instrumentation presently causes enormous progress in 2D, 3D resolving and even 4D (spatio-temporal) X-ray imaging techniques. They allow gaining insight in structure and chemical composition of matter with unprecedented high resolution and using novel contrast mechanisms, enabling new discoveries in materials sciences and life sciences.

X-REGIO initiates a joint effort to integrate, adapt, optimize and apply advanced, at ANKA upcoming 2D, 3D and 4D X-ray imaging diagnostics into an ensemble for Hierarchical and Correlated Imaging Diagnostics for model organism, organ-, tissue,- and cell imaging application.

X-REGIO forms an interdisciplinary consortium of leading Russian and German research institutions bringing together developers of X-ray techniques (X-ray imaging, computation, and imaging analysis) and research groups with strong interest in systematic use of the methodical ensemble, in particular for 3D multi scale imaging of tissues and cells in scaffolds and model organisms for the application fields of

  • Regenerative biology
  • Functional Genomics
  • Nanotoxicology

All addressed application directions face similar challenges so that they all demand for the development of hierarchical imaging. Planning to use and to combine the imaging methods in similar way is therefore the basis of strong mutual interest and essential synergy within the consortiums collaborative work.