Molecular imaging takes advantage of the traditional diagnostic imaging techniques and introduces molecular imaging probes to determine the expression of indicative molecular markers at different stages of diseases and disorders. Molecular imaging probe is an agent used to visualize, characterize and quantify biological processes in living systems.
This line of research is focused on the cellular mechanisms of disease, mainly on the regulation of neural stem cells (NSC), neurogenesis and the neural stem cell niche. We are interested in the paracrine regulation of NSC behavior and, specifically, in vascular trophic factors, such as betacellulin, that can induce NSC proliferation and neurogenesis.
Schizophrenia is a chronic neuropsychiatric disorder that affects approximately 1% of the population worldwide. It is the most common chronic mental illness, representing the major economic burden on the health sector. Therefore, in recent decades, various international and national organizations have shown great concern over the impact on morbidity and quality of life. Currently, we are investigating different therapeutic strategies in the prevention of the onset of schizophrenia.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in rodents has been used for decades to study brain function and dysfunction. Such a technique has enabled a finer study of the brain hemodynamics thanks to the higher resolution it provides as compared to human fMRI –one order of magnitude higher-. Moreover, these studies in rodents have also enabled simultaneous measurements of the electrical activity and the BOLD (blood oxygenation level-dependent) signal for a deeper understanding of the neurovascular coupling and its associated mechanisms.
Cancer is one of the principal leading causes of death worldwide, and thus it is one of the most studied diseases. Nuclear imaging modalities (positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)) combined with computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are the most commonly used techniques to retrieve non-invasively anatomical and functional information of tumors.
Early detection of unknown inflammation and nosocomial infection processes is crucial nowadays for patient’s survival. In this respect, clinical practice is taken profit of molecular imaging technologies to diagnose these pathologies in early stages. But in many cases correlation between imaging findings and patient evolution is still undetermined. Animal models are indispensable for the study of key issues in disease pathophysiology, for testing promising new treatments and also for find imaging markers of disease progression.
Light microscopy employs visible light to image objects of microscopic dimensions and it is probably the most used research tool in biology. Microscopy has historically been an observational technique. In recent years, however, the development of automated microscopes, digital sensing technologies and novel labeling probes have turned microscopy into a predominantly quantitative technique.
Cardiovascular diseases remain the major cause of death in the developed world. The costs generated in economic, social and human terms are immense. This has led us to propose this line to further understand the biology and basic mechanisms underlying cardiovascular diseases, identify potential novel targets, apply the information and concepts available in clinical studies of patients and, develop other biotechnological novel applications to prevent them.