ESR 6 – Innovative MRI and multi-modal strategies for evaluating the safety and efficacy of regenerative medicine therapies

In this position the ESR will be employed by the University of Liverpool and join a team of researchers working at the Centre for Preclinical imaging, a state-of-the-art imaging facility housing a 9.4 T MRI, a high resolution CT, a PET/SPECT/CT as well as bioluminescence, photoacoustic and ultrasound instrumentation. In this project, the ESR will develop methods for labelling mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) with imaging agents (contrast media, tracers) and establish protocols for monitoring the cells’ biodistribution and kidney structure in vivo. The overall goal of the project will be to determine the cell’s behaviour in vivo with a focus on the identification of the organs that they populate, how long they survive in these organs and the extent by which they ameliorate kidney injury. You will also use advanced microscopy techniques (light sheet imaging and confocal imaging using a state-of-the-art Dragonfly microscope) to analyse whole organs and tissue sections ex vivo to assess the extent of MSC integration with the host tissue.

The ESR will develop skills in the following areas:  

  • Methods for assessing the cytotoxicity and cell labelling efficiency of novel contrast agents consisting of iron oxide nanoparticles (MR imaging), gold nanorods (photoacoustic and CT imaging) and radioisotopes (nuclear imaging).
  • Use of mouse models of disease to determine risks (safety) and benefits (efficacy) of MSCs as therapies for kidney injury.
  • Use of multi-modality imaging to determine MSC biodistribution and survival in vivo, with a focus on magnetic resonance, photoacoustic, CT, bioluminescence and nuclear imaging
  • Optical tissue clearing protocols for the analysis of intact organs using light sheet microscopy (in collaboration with Heidelberg University)