Project: Z02

Imaging Core Unit (ICU)

Aim of the proposed CRC is to gain a better understanding of the pathogenesis of age-related ocular diseases characterized by aberrant (lymph)angiogenesis and inflammation. Based on the yielded knowledge and insights, new therapies shall be designed for age-related ocular diseases. The proposed Imaging Core Unit (ICU) will contribute to this goal by supporting the research projects that are part of this CRC (A01-C07) through giving access to (already available) cutting edge technology to image ocular structures in health and disease. The Imaging Core Unit will provide imaging solutions and analysis tools for preclinical in-vitro and in-vivo studies as well as clinical studies of the CRC projects later on. In all projects cellular processes of inflammation will be analyzed. Therefore, especially intravital, real-time and non- to minimally invasive imaging is needed in order to capture and follow the induced alterations in animal experiments. The same holds true for (lymph)vascular alterations.

Therefore, the Imaging Core Unit (ICU) will provide comprehensive and efficient service in biomedical imaging. The ICU already offers state-of-the-art platforms for fast multi-image fluorescence microscopy, automated high-throughput live cell microscopy, intravital retinal and corneal imaging microscopy. As a unique feature the unit provides OCT, OCT angiography, and microscopic OCT for small animals bundled in an experimental OCT workstation. The ICU will provide access, training, and support to the members of the CRC in the use of all the imaging devices and analysis tools already available. According to the different needs of the projects, the choice of the right device will be evaluated. In cooperation with the projects, devices and analysis tools will be adapted to the according scientific question. The Imaging Core Unit will support all projects in conducting fluorescence microscopy, live-cell imaging, OCT-imaging, fluorescence angiography, image analysis and data banking. Image analysis will include quantification of 2D and 3D data sets of blood vessels, calculation of blood flow velocities or correlation of fluorescence angiography with OCT images. Algorithms within existing software for quantitative analysis will be provided to enable rapid analysis of large multidimensional data sets. Furthermore, the ICU will develop further standardized, highly qualitative data analysis methods in close cooperation with the individual projects, especially with the INF project (Z05). As a result, highly reliable and innovative imaging data sets will be generated.