Molecular Imaging of Cellular Metabolism

The Focus Group “Molecular Imaging of Cellular Metabolism” consists of Hans Fischer Senior Fellow Prof. Ron Heeren (University of Maastricht) and his hosts Prof. Thomas Hofmann (TUM School of Life Sciences) and Prof. Percy A. Knolle (TUM School of Medicine)

Cellular metabolism is defined by a complex interplay between various molecular classes, molecular signals, and a dynamic cellular environment. This Focus Group investigates the local proteome, lipidome, and metabolome levels to provide detailed insight into the heterogeneity of living systems, with the aim of improving our understanding of the molecular status of health and disease. Innovative single-cell imaging in the native tissue context, using advanced mass spectrometry imaging strategies combined with advanced “omics” approaches, is employed to chart cellular metabolism in unique detail. In particular, we target the translational study of immune metabolism at the cellular level through research on the metabolic state of immune cells within the liver and the central nervous system in settings of sterile inflammation. Our integrated, interdisciplinary approach is augmented with the characterization of contextual lipids and metabolites in the microenvironment surrounding immune cells in these systems. The Focus Group works closely with various collaborators within TUM and at the Maastricht MultiModal Molecular Imaging Institute in jointly targeting the advancement of the fundamental, methodological, and translational impact of molecular imaging in the study of cellular metabolism.