Optoacoustic imaging ('light in – sound out') is an emerging molecular and medical imaging technique that uses dyes as contrast agents. Those dyes efficiently convert optical input to ultrasound output, allowing for the use of ultrasound imaging for the precise localization of the lesion-bound tracer. Optoacoustic imaging is emerging as a clinical modality in Europe, with Groningen being the first center that performs clinical trials on its use.
In the project, you will use molecular approaches to develop the next generation of optoacoustic imaging that uses switchable contrast agents, thus transforming the readout from the spectral domain to the time domain, resulting in drastically increased sensitivity. While the proof of principle for this groundbreaking approach has been shown on photoswitchable proteins, the real clinical potential lies in the use of drug-like photochromic small molecules that you will develop, supported by our collaborators in advanced spectroscopy, theoretical chemistry, photonics and molecular biology.
You will be appointed at the department of Radiology, part of the Medical Imaging Center in the UMCG Groningen, with a large part of the work being performed at Stratingh Institute, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen. Close collaboration is envisioned with the advanced spectroscopy groups (Amsterdam, Florence) and key partners in the SWOPT consortium (Munich, Lausanne), including site visits for short research stays.
See this website for more information about the Szymanski-lab.