We work on three key research themes in imaging physics. For more information on available projects, please check the below themes.
Research in the spotlight
Want to learn more about our research? See below our latest projects.
ERC starting grant for Daan Brinks (brain imaging)
Understanding the brain is one of the great scientific challenges of our time. This pursuit fundamentally depends on advances in physical sciences and engineering to provide novel tools and methods to perturb, record and interpret brain activity. Information in the brain is encoded in changes in the voltage across the membrane of brain cells. Voltage imaging with genetically encoded voltage indicators (GEVIs) is a revolutionary method that allows faithful recording of the fast electrical dynamics of many genetically targeted cells in parallel.
Bubbles and protons against cancer
X-ray therapy is an important weapon in the fight against cancer. Approximately 50 percent of patients are cured with this technology. Unfortunately, the use of X-rays does not prevent damage to surrounding tissues. Proton therapy, another form of radiation, is a better choice in this respect. The depth of penetration and energy delivery of the radiation dose can be set very precisely, so that the damage to healthy tissues is minimal.
Mapping out heart damage from radiation
Radiation is often used in cancer treatments, but may also lead to heart damage. Sebastian Weingärtner and team will develop new quantitative methods for using MRI to map out the electrical properties of the hearts of patients who have been exposed to radiation. This makes it possible to detect damage to heart tissue earlier on and to better treat the side effects of radiation therapy.
Biomolecules for measuring the degree of acidity using diagnostic ultrasound
David Maresca and team will develop a biosensor at the nanoscale to map out biological processes using ultrasound. This makes it possible to observe the regulation of acidity, for example. The ultrasound biosensor consists of protein in gaseous state and is inspired by a green, fluorescent bacterium that occurs in nature. Using this nanotechnology, the researchers can observe inflammation in the vascular system, among other things.
Videos of the brain
A team of scientists, including Dr. Daan Brinks (ImPhys), has published a paper in Nature in which they show a 'live broadcast of the brain'. Neural electrical signals are converted into sparks that are visible through a microscope. For the first time, the team has succeeded in making high-resolution, real-time videos of the underlying electrical activity in awake and active mice. The team is now working on the application of this ‘voltage imaging’ technology to answer more complex neuroscientific questions.
Opname en verspreiding van plastic nanodeeltjes in zebravissen
Om de gezondheidsrisico’s van nanoplastics vast te kunnen stellen, is het noodzakelijk om het pad van deze plastic deeltjes door levende organismen te volgen. Wij stellen een methode van lichtmicroscopie voor die gevoelig genoeg is om sommige fluorescerende plastic nanodeeltjes te detecteren in kleine levende zeefauna. ZonMw project Elizabeth Carroll and Nicolò Ceffa.
Prof Bernd Rieger receives NWO-Vici grant of 1.5 million euros for his super-resolution microscopy work
Prof. Bernd Rieger will receive 1.5 million euros from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This Vici grant will enable him to develop an innovative line of research in the coming five years. Vici is one of the largest scientific grants for individuals in the Netherlands. Ultra-resolution with visible light: Zooming in on the building blocks of life, one at a time.