AMIEApplied Molecular Imaging at Erasmus MC


Dr. Monique Bernsen
Doctor Molewaterplein 40, 3015 GD Rotterdam

AMIE provides researchers with state-of-the-art (molecular) imaging expertise, technology, and assays for studying biological systems. The facility is used to explore a wide range of topics: including cancer research, cardiovascular research, microbiology/immunology, developmental biology and pharmacology. AMIE's unique strength lies in the fusion of cutting-edge imaging development, availability of exclusive mouse models, and strong links between basic, translational and patient-bound research. The unique advantage of AMIE is that all imaging modalities are within a single facility. This gives researchers the opportunity for multimodal imaging experiments, getting maximum information from each experiment.

"AMIE is a research development facility housing an extensive armamentarium of preclinical imaging equipment and dedicated staff for research support and active development of new imaging techniques and applications. AMIE’s mission is enhancing synergy of preclinical imaging techniques applied in ongoing research projects and fostering new research, leading to internationally competitive, top-level basic and translational research. To achieve this, AMIE offers advanced state-of-the-art imaging equipment, full technical support by dedicated specialists, scientific advice, and technological innovation, as needed by the user.
AMIE is unique worldwide as it has a wide range of imaging equipment under central management and with dedicated support staff, with the immense added benefit that all equipment is within the same building only meters apart, located in the same room, or even combined in a single platform. Easy transfer between platforms gives the opportunity to benefit from several imaging modalities, gaining as much insight as possible into the research question at hand. AMIE maintains all equipment and since 2007 organizes training of users with an annual practical course at an international level. The Erasmus MC Executive Board recognized AMIE as a Core Facility as of January 2019. AMIE is strongly involved in the Academic Center of Excellence (ACE) “Cellular and Molecular Imaging”. AMIE currently houses the following instruments:

MRI - 7 tesla and 1 tesla system
PET - Inveon and VECTor5OI/CT
microCT - Quantum FX and VECTor5OI/CT
Optical imaging – IVIS, FMT2500, and VECTor5OI/CT
Ultrasound – Vevo3100
3D tomographic opto-acoustic imaging – MSOT
Photoacoustic imaging - LAZR-X

All equipment is tailored for high resolution and high sensitivity imaging of small animals or (human) tissue samples. Collaborations with academic users and industrial partners are a key element of the facility. Joining with cluster MCCA-2, involving the NKI, UMCG and UU, connects AMIE to an additional network of academic groups, consortia and industrial partners within the Netherlands and Europe. AMIE maintains an open access policy, which stimulates use of the facility by academia and industry. The facilities and resources offered by AMIE also contribute towards reduction and refinement of animal use.
Within the cluster MCCA-2 (Models to Combat Cancer and Aging), AMIE works with partner institutes to facilitate the development and application of advanced mouse models for cancer and aging research, thereby accelerating cancer and aging research and contributing to the theme of ‘healthy aging’. But AMIE is far broader than cancer and aging research alone. All major research fields are represented in research performed in the facility: including the cardiovascular system, neurology, oncology, infection and immunity and the musculoskeletal system.

The AMIE facility and the ACE Cellular and Molecular Imaging attract top talent and external collaborations. In the field of Molecular Imaging and preclinical disease models (small animals and (human) tissue), the link to other essential infrastructure is of cardinal importance. This includes the housing and treatment of animals and preparations within the EDC (Erasmus Laboratory Animal Science Center). Erasmus MC has an important 'asset', a colony of transgenic mice (> 1000 lines) including models of human disease, but also animals that are suitable for in vivo optical imaging because of reporter genes and other labels. Also the ability to create new genetically modified animal models, with classical methods, but also CRISPR-Cas is essential. In the spectrum of biomedical research, AMIE fulfils a bridging role between more basic molecular and cellular research and clinical research and therefore also closely interacts with the OIC (optical imaging center), also strongly involved the ACE Cellular and Molecular Imaging."

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