Multi-spectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) allows label-free molecular imaging of intrinsic contrast from tissue components, such as lipids, oxyhemoglobin, deoxygenated hemoglobin, H2O, melanin, and collagen simultaneously and in real-time. It enables quantitative monitoring of dynamic processes in the body, such as fat accumulation in the liver or brown fat activation. The temporal resolution brought by MSOT, not only has the potential to serve as an essential element for the assessment of treatment response, but also boosts the discovery and validation of dynamic biomarkers with superior sensitivity and specificity compared to conventional static biomarkers.

In the Biomarkers Group, we study preclinical models of disease with label-free MSOT imaging to develop working pipelines for in vivo detection and quantification of biomarkers, such as lipid content, blood perfusion, and tissue oxygenation. We also explore dynamic biomarkers for disease assessment with or without specific tracers or contrast agents. The scientific output of our group facilitates the study of disease therapies in a preclinical setting and provides an essential base for the translation of optoacoustic biomarkers into the clinic.

The current research topics are:

  1.     Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease diagnosis and monitoring
  2.     Functional imaging of adipose tissues affected by obesity
  3.     Muscle pathology in diabetes



Relevant publications

Huang S., Blutke A., Feuchtinger A., Klemm U., Tom R.Z., Hofmann S, Stiel AC., Ntziachristos V. Functional multispectral optoacoustic tomography imaging of hepatic steatosis development in mice. bioRxiv 2020.12.17.419531; doi: 10.1101/2020.12.17.419531

Reber J, Willershäuser M, Karlas A, Paul-Yuan K, Diot G, Franz D, Fromme T, Ovsepian SV, Bézière N, Dubikovskaya E, Karampinos DC, Holzapfel C, Hauner H, Klingenspor M, Ntziachristos V. Non-invasive Measurement of Brown Fat Metabolism Based on Optoacoustic Imaging of Hemoglobin Gradients. Cell Metab. 2018 Mar 6;27(3):689-701.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.02.002.

Ntziachristos V, Pleitez MA, Aime S, Brindle K. Emerging technologies to image tissue metabolism. Cell Metab pii: S1550-4131(18)30569-2 (2018), doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.09.004

Razansky D, Buehler A, Ntziachristos V. Volumetric real-time multispectral optoacoustic tomography of biomarkers Nat Protoc, 6(8);1121-9 (2011) doi: 10.1038/nprot.2011.351