Research Environment

  ExMI team in front of the CBMS building. Copyright: © Nina Keusgen  

The Institute for Experimental Molecular Imaging (ExMI) at the University Hospital Aachen and the Helmholtz Institute for Biomedical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University is headed by Professor Fabian Kiessling.

ExMI focuses on the development and evaluation of novel imaging methods, contrast agents and theranostics to characterize and treat cancer, cardiovascular and inflammatory disorders. ExMI has a translational scope and many project are located at the interface between preclinical and clinical research. In this context, we often follow a multimodal approach, based on combinations of MRI, CT, ultrasound, optical and photoacoustic imaging, nuclear medicine techniques (in particular PET-MRI), and magnetic particle imaging (MPI). In order to develop image-guided therapies, we strongly interconnect our pathophysiological and pharmacological research with research in device engineering, image reconstruction, and data postprocessing.

Basic research on the tissue microenvironment (including the barriers for drug delivery) provides us with new imaging biomarkers and new mechanistic insights that can be used for new therapeutic approaches. Here, imaging features and omics data are considered in concert, evaluated using radiomic and radiogenomic approaches, and used to support mathematical disease models.
As a second main focus area ExMI investigates materials and concepts to improve drug delivery to tumors. This includes the development and evaluation of novel biomaterials, including nanoparticles, polymeric carriers, liposomes, micelles and microbubbles as well as physical and biological treatments of the vasculature and the adjacent tumor stroma in order to improve drug accumulation and tumor penetration.

ExMI currently consists of two departments and several working groups: