Bioanalytical Imaging - Perspectives in Research, Biotechnology and Medicine
Since the invention of the microscope in the early years after 1600 this technique opened an entirely new world to scientists. Basic biological concepts like the cell being the building blocks of all living organisms or microbes as the causing agents of human diseases were driven by advanced microscopic techniques. During the last decades the impact of spectroscopic imaging approaches like e.g. fluorescence or vibrational spectroscopy (IR-absorption, Raman scattering) and different types of mass spectrometry which allow gaining new valuable molecular information on complex biological specimen that cannot be acquired by conventional microscopy increased significantly.
Imaging is an essential tool for the researcher who investigates the cellular and biochemical processes underlying cellular functions. Bioanalytical imaging opens now the opportunity to analyse the spatial distribution of molecules in biological and medicinal specimens. Ultimate goal would be the dynamic localization of the proteome and metabolome on the level of cells, tissues or entire organisms.
Spectroscopic methods like e.g. fluorescence or vibrational spectroscopy (IR and Raman) are of particular relevance for modern biomedical imaging since they provide beside morphological information direct molecular contrast. Matrix assisted laser desorption ionization coupled to mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) is a complementary technique that opens the possibility to image and identify small molecules and proteins in tissues. Both spectroscopic and mass spectrometry imaging approaches require sophisticated bioinformatics to go from primary data to knowledge.
Beside the basic analysis of living systems, bioanalytical imaging is suited to search for novel biomarkers in medicinal diagnostics or for monitoring pharmacological effects in model systems. Further aspects of bioanalytical imaging range from biotechnology to environmental analyses to food quality applications.
The first bioanalytical imaging meeting hosted by the DECHEMA aims to cover trends ranging from technical developments in analytics, extending the panel of techniques towards the analysis of hidden biochemical spatial regularities, to biomarker discovery in health, nutrition and medical aspects.