Imaging centre: see more, see larger

April 12th 2018

The Center for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging organised an information day in March, an opportunity to present its (new) imaging techniques as well as its services to the 90 academics and members of the industry who attended the event.

The Center for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging (CMMI) is gaining momentum! Ever since its creation, the imaging centre has been collaborating with an increasing number of partners, especially in the industrial sector. ‘We have made considerable efforts within the centre in order to improve project management,’ explains Laure Twyffels, deputy director of CMMI. ‘With funds from the ERDF programme for 2014-2020 (1), we were able to purchase new equipment and develop some of our services. Now we are ready to take on even more projects!’

4 new imaging machines

The CMMI has recently acquired the first photoacoustic imager in Belgium, as well as a new medium-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. These tools are used to produce ‘in vivo’ images of the body. ‘Over the next few months, we will also purchase a new micro-CT scanner (for 3D X-rays) and a transmission electron cryomicroscope,’ adds Laure Twyffels.

The CMMI’s speciality hubs

The new machines will add to the dozen imaging tools that the CMMI already makes available to partners. The centre has four speciality hubs:
• microscopy (optical or electron);
• DIAPath, offering cutting-edge techniques for digital anatomical pathology;
• ‘in vivo’ imaging, with 7 high-end machines (MRI, PET-CT, SPECT, etc.);
• MIP (multimodal image processing), where new methods of analysis are developed, including by combining data from different imaging machines.

Other services and big data

The teams at the CMMI do not just prepare samples and ‘take pictures’. Laure Twyffels explains: ‘Before the process, we help clients determine which imaging technique is best suited to their project. Afterwards, we analyse the images and extract key data, which we interpret in its biological context.’
This is why the CMMI is developing its image analysis activities. ‘With new technologies, we can produce larger and more accurate images, in greater numbers. Our current challenge has to do with extracting relevant information from the enormous amount of data collected.’