Department of Nuclear Medicine
[Scientific staff | Publications within DiMI | References]
The Department of Nuclear Medicine of the TU Munich is equipped with a broad spectrum of in vivo imaging modalities (2 clinical PET scanners, a PET/CT scanner, a small animal PET scanner, 5 SPECT cameras, an 1.5T cardiovascular MRI scanner, an optical imaging system and access to 2 fMRI-enabled 1.5T MRT-scanners) and laboratories for ex vivo image validation (gamma- and beta-counters, microtome and autoradiography lab, biodistribution lab, PCR, HPLC etc). The department also comprises laboratories for radiochemical / radiopharmaceutical development (including an on-site cyclotron), PET detector and camera development, and image analysis software development. All necessary infrastructure for innovative and integrative research in biologic and molecular imaging is thus available.
Cardiovascular imaging is a major research interest of the department. Myocardial microcirculation, metabolism, function and innervation are assessed in multiple clinical projects for phenotyping of heart disease and characterization of treatment effects. Preclinical experimental work aims at development of novel approaches for detection of specific molecular mechanisms such as gene and protein expression, angiogenesis and apoptosis in vitro as well as in vivo using various small and large animal models. For successful conduction of the broad spectrum of projects, close scientific cooperation exists with departments of cardiology, cardiac surgery, pediatric cardiology, radiology, pathology and experimental oncology & therapy research at the Technical University, but also with departments of cardiology, cardiac surgery, clinical chemistry and diabetology of the Ludwig-Maximilians University and other local centers of cardiology in Munich. Several projects are also carried out with regional, national and international partners, including e.g. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, University of California, Los Angeles, and Cornell University, New York, USA, Turku University, Finnland, and University of Groningen, The Netherlands.
Another major field of interest is the imaging of brain function. Using the modern infrastructure, clinical and preclinical studies on cerebral metabolism (F-18 FDG), brain activation (O-15 H2O, fMRI) and receptor status (flumazenil, diprenorphine) are being performed. Besides the characterization of cerebral processing involved in movement disorders, pain and epilepsy, a main focus is on early diagnosis, follow up and treatment monitoring of dementia. Particularly, the value of brain imaging modalities in the context of other biomarkers (spinal fluid, genotype) has been analyzed. First pilot studies using animal models of dementia are being performed, and novel, plaque-targeted molecular tracers are under development. Successful cooperations have been established with the local departments of neurology and psychiatry (Technische Universität München, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) and other faculties (e.g. information technology) as well as with other national and international partners (e.g. University of Washington, Seattle, Georgetown University, Washington D.C., USA, Hyogo Institute of the Ageing Brain, Japan).