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Breaking the penetration limit of microscopy – Photoswitching Optoacoustics

Objective

SWOPT is a novel imaging technology that will break through the penetration limits of optical microscopy to visualize individual cells and their function in vivo through several millimeters to centimeters of depth. SWOPT will exploit (1) optoacoustic imaging (OAI), a modality which combines signal generation similar to optical imaging with the whole-animal imaging capability of ultrasound readout, and uniquely augment it with (2) photoswitching to resolve signals from single labeled cells from deep within live tissue. This will achieve volume sampling abilities surpassing any optical microscopy by at least three orders of magnitude (> 5 x 5 x 5 mm imaging volume). SWOPT will develop the necessary breakthrough instrumentation and concepts: unique multiplexed diode illumination, novel ultra-wideband transducer technology, dedicated inversion algorithms that incorporate photoswitching in the three-dimensional reconstructions, and uniquely tailored classes of photo-switching transgene and synthetic molecular tools. The exceptional capabilities of SWOPT will be demonstrated by proof-of-concept work resolving cellular dynamics and functions in a whole tumor in a model of renal cancer in vivo. SWOPT builds on the world-leading expertise in the disciplines of OA imaging technology (Ntziachristos GER), applied mathematics (Unser CH), and cancer metabolism (Frezza UK) and is driven by excellent young researchers in protein-engineering (Stiel GER) and chemical synthesis (Szymanski NL) and supported by the science-to-technology focus of ambitious high-tech SMEs (Sonaxis FRA, iThera GER). SWOPT’s uniquely comprehensive, yet detailed imaging will enable examination of whole tissues in vivo with the same ease, flexibility and, eventually, abundance of tools paralleling fluorescence microscopy, thus bringing research and understanding of living organisms to the next level. As an affordable imaging technology, SWOPT aspires to become routine in life science and bio-medical research.

Coordinator

HELMHOLTZ ZENTRUM MUENCHEN DEUTSCHES FORSCHUNGSZENTRUM FUER GESUNDHEIT UND UMWELT GMBH
Net EU contribution
€ 1 369 778,00
Address
Ingolstadter Landstrasse 1
85764 Neuherberg
Germany

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Region
Bayern Oberbayern München, Landkreis
Activity type
Research Organisations
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00

Participants (4)

SONAXIS
France
Net EU contribution
€ 392 619,00
Address
Rue Emilie Du Chatelet 1
25000 Besancon

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SME

The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Yes
Region
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Franche-Comté Doubs
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00
ACADEMISCH ZIEKENHUIS GRONINGEN
Netherlands
Net EU contribution
€ 388 311,00
Address
Hanzeplein 1
9713 GZ Groningen

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Region
Noord-Nederland Groningen Overig Groningen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,25
KLINIKUM DER UNIVERSITAET ZU KOELN
Germany
Net EU contribution
€ 484 391,00
Address
Kerpener Strasse 62
50937 Koeln

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Region
Nordrhein-Westfalen Köln Köln, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,25
ITHERA MEDICAL GMBH
Germany
Net EU contribution
€ 301 875,00
Address
Zielstattstrasse 13
81379 Munchen

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SME

The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Yes
Region
Bayern Oberbayern München, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Non-EU contribution
€ 0,00