Innovative Science Programs: Biomedical Imaging and Biomarkers (joint with the College)
The city of Rochester earned the tag line, “Imaging Center of the World,” through a rich history established by George Eastman, Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch & Lomb. Today the University of Rochester is exploiting its own imaging power by building a program to develop exciting new tools for research and patient care. Biomedical imaging represents an area where the institution must grow quickly to maintain its lead among peers nationally.
Medical imaging has a huge impact on patients. Doctors perform more than 100 million studies each year in U.S. hospitals with ultrasounds, X-rays, MRIs and CT scans to diagnose and treat a host of illnesses. The latest imaging technology makes possible an entirely new level of early diagnosis and non-invasive treatment in areas as diverse as heart disease, cancer and bone or muscle problems.
Bioimaging goes another step. It allows doctors to precisely assess what is going on deep inside the body, to see brain cells responding to stimuli and joints as they heal. This is transforming our knowledge of living tissues and even individual cells. Bioimaging also makes it possible to develop biomarkers for diseases and to watch biochemical changes in the body that provide early physical proof that an illness is present, getting worse, or that a treatment is working. Biomarkers that can be measured non-invasively in patients are an important step toward personalized medicine and health.
Collaboration between the University’s Medical Center and River Campus bring together some of the world’s top imaging and optics experts. The Institute of Optics, for example, trains 60 percent of the country’s optics professionals. Cross-campus interaction is common between scientists at the Center for Biomedical Ultrasound and at the Center for Visual Science, where researchers took the first images of the living retina, a window into the brain. At the Medical Center alone, current imaging funding from NIH tops $31 million.
Future plans include the hiring of around one dozen faculty members, the founding of the Center for Biomedical Imaging, and an ambitious new biomedical imaging core facility that will house new instruments for optical imaging at the cellular level. Scientists are working toward applications such as better brain imaging for early detection of diseases like Alzheimer’s, non-invasive ways to monitor heart health, or new ways to keep close tabs on the progression of arthritis.
Biomedical Imaging and Biomarkers
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