Biochemistry laboratory research, Scientist or medical in lab coat holding test tube with Using Microscope reagent with drop of color liquid over glass equipment working at the laboratory.

European Research Council Grant Awarded To Brno Researchers For Innovative Neuroimaging Study

A team led by Tomáš Čižmár, a researcher at the Institute of Instrumentation of the Czech Academy of Sciences (AVČR) in Brno, is working on the development of state-of-the-art medical imaging techniques. Last Tuesday, 24 May, they obtained a grant from the European Research Council (ERC) which will allow them to continue the project they have been working on for 10 years concerning the holographic endoscope and the ways it could be used in neurology. Photo credit: Freepik

Brno, 29 May (BD) – According to the World Health Organisation, strokes are the second leading cause of death worldwide, with an annual mortality of approximately 6.5 million people. Those who survive a stroke remain chronically ill in half of cases. Ongoing research at the Institute of Instrumentation of AVČR focuses on the development of a new complete technology platform for examining the impact of a severe stroke. “Our research should provide the scientific community with a tool which can be used to uncover many secrets of these serious diseases and help both their treatment and prevention,” said Čižmár.

The researcher, who won a previous ERC grant for his work at the University of Dundee in Scotland, plans to carry out technological improvements to the state-of-the-art holographic endoscope that will be able to observe the impact of a stroke in living animal models. This would represent a significant expansion of the device’s usability for practitioners in the field of neuroscience. Mice will be used for this part of the research, which will consist of triggering strokes in a controlled manner in order to observe the consequences at the level of neuronal connections.

The study will involve triggering strokes in mice in a controlled manner, to observe the neuronal response. Image credit: Ústav přístrojové techniky AV ČR

The already available imaging capability of the device will make it easier to navigate, and after a controlled stroke is triggered, it will be possible to monitor changes in the clustering of neurons in a given area. Čižmár’s team’s project, dubbed StrokeGATE, will open up the usability of holographic endoscopy in a broader current spectrum of biomedical research.

Dr. Petra Ondráčková works under the direction of Čižmár on the biological applications of holographic endoscopy. “Working on this important project is a great challenge for me,” she enthuses. “My task is to prepare live animal models, in our case mice, so that observations do not cause unexpected situations that would affect the measurement results, and at the same time follow standards of humaneness.”

The ERC, created in 2007, provides grants from the European Union budget to promote scientific excellence in all fields. To receive the grant, the researcher can be of any nationality, but must be attached to an institution in an EU Member State, or in a country associated with the EU Framework Programme. The selection takes into account not only the previous results of the researcher, but also the revolutionary and completely new character of the proposed research. This must have the potential to push boundaries or open up new research perspectives in the researcher’s field. “This is an award for past work and at the same time confidence is given to the candidate’s future research,” concluded Čižmár.

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