First Press Release

As of first of January, 2011 the Systems Microscopy Network of Excellence is a project in operation. The project was announced here and here.

EU investment in research exploring live cells in time and space

February 2011

New research technologies have made it possible to quantitatively record the behaviour of living cells under the microscope, permitting subsequent  mathematical modeling and simulation of cellular processes – so called systems microscopy.

Through an interdisciplinary project funded by the EU, the Karolinska Institute has been commissioned to coordinate efforts to develop this field that holds the potential to revolutionize future biomedical research.

– The predominant methodologies currently used in life science research, such as genomics and proteomics, give snapshots of the biological circumstances prevailing at the time of sampling. Biological processes, however, occur over time and are not adequately described by a single snapshot. We are now able to capture the full progression of such processes, says Staffan Strömblad, professor in clinical molecular biology at the Karolinska Institute and coordinator of the project.

The research network Systems Microscopy Network of Excellence (NoE) unites 15 laboratories located throughout the whole of Europe. The joint research plan spans over five years. The effort is supported with 12 million Euro via the 7th Framework Programme of the Eurpean Union. The idea is to, through close collaboration between biologists, physicians and mathematicians, create mathematical models of biological processes in time and space and to test these models experimentally. 

The new technologies are out there, but have to be developed and, above all, put to use. As we try to understand how, for instance, a cancer cell can free itself from the primary tumour and move away to establish new tumour sites, a process known as metastasis, we have to recreate the whole process. An investigation of the final metastasis gives a snapshot, but not necessarily the prehistory that explains the outcome, says Staffan Strömblad.

The members of the network are active in Finland, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The kick-off of the project will take place at the University of Málaga, February 21-23, 2011 and provides the first opportunity for the network to gather in its entirety. In conjunction with this event, the wider research community is also invited to a mini-symposium where the research area is presented by some of its most prominent representatives.

 

Seventh Framework Programme

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