CIBIT at a glance
CIBIT is a new research unit hosted at ICNAS, University of Coimbra to develop translational research. CIBIT is a leading institution in multimodal biomedical imaging. Its current focus is on biomedical imaging and translational research, with a strong record in Cognitive, Translational and Clinical Neuroscience. Methodological expertise in Biomarker research in Clinical Neuroscience has enabled transfer to other Biomedical Imaging Areas where biomarker development from the molecular and functional points of view, is a major challenge, such as Cardiology and Oncology. Particular strengths include pre-clinical and clinical MR, PET and OCT, neurophysiology and molecular probe development for applications in Neuroscience, Cardiology and Oncology.
Our mission includes basic and translational research, together with the development and exploration of new imaging technologies using state-of-the-art imaging instrumentation (MRI, PET EEG, TMS, OCT, CT, fNIRS) and combined modalities. Our leadership of initiatives such as the Brain Imaging Network are instrumental for the national scientific development and we focus on Clinical Neuroscience and Biomarker development approaches.
We represent the Medical Imaging Branch of EU funded EuroBioimaging Network. We host the Medical imaging infrastructure for the National Roadmap, approved after international evaluation, which includes a large set of modalities (Cyclotron with 11C Radiochemistry for Molecular Imaging, PET/CT, 3T MR, TMS, fNIRS, EEG) all centralized at our central facility at ICNAS of the University of Coimbra, Portugal.
Activities and collaborations
The range of our activities cover all the Medical Imaging workpackages of Eurobioimaging, from translational research using Molecular and Functional Imaging techniques to basic and clinical research in neuroscience, including clinical trials. Our specialized radiochemistry unit can synthesize new compounds for molecular imaging in humans (and animals), using several tracers including 11C. Moreover, we have also the possibility of programming new MR imaging approaches taking advantage of the research collaboration with Siemens and interactions with centres such as John Hopkins Hospital, The Martinos Centre at Harvard Medical School and others. We share patient databases of a few hundred subjects (including Neurodevelopmental disorders and Alzheimer’s Disease, with several imaging modalities). We do indeed already have several running clinical trial contracts and have research agreements with the industry.
Main Scientific areas and Interdisciplinary approaches
Our interdisciplinary research program focuses on the scientific and technical strengths of the team, and is built on three main domains, which are justified by the productivity that was already achieved in the first years of operation of this infrastructure and previous integration in the Unit CNC.IBILI. These domains include Molecular and Functional Imaging, Neuroscience and Radiomics. The Neuroscience domain will pursue scientific excellence along 5 key themes: 1. Normal Ageing: Cognitive Models and Neuroimaging; 2. Neurodegenerative Disorders with focus on mechanisms of disease, impaired neurotransmission and neurophysiology; 3. Neurodevelopmental Disorders with a similar focus on multimodal explanatory approaches; 4. Cortical plasticity in the maturing and adult brain: implications for neurorehabilitation; 5. Neuropsychiatric disorders, with a focus on decision making and cognitive control. The Radiomics domain will contribute with data integration, modelling and classification. The rationale is that the traditional approach that focuses on single outcome measures is limited and does not take full advantage of the high dimensionality and complementarity of clinical, neurophysiological and multimodal imaging data to construct multivariate biomarkers that can be useful in basic and clinical research. This expertise crosses several disciplines in biomarker development, given its generality. Two obvious fields of application beyond clinical neuroscience are cardiovascular science (because of its common links with functional imaging) and oncologic imaging (given its multimodal nature). The Functional and Molecular Imaging domain serves as the base anchor for the other 2 domains.
- Health and Medical Sciences- Basic and Clinical Medicine
- Engineering and Technology- Biomedical Engineering
- Social Sciences – Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
- Biomarker testing and initial validation