Scientific objectives

BetaTrain joins forces between experts from five European FP7 consortia with cutting-edge expertise in the field of beta cell/diabetes imaging and image processing (BetaImage, VIBRANT, IMIDIA, ENCITE, MADEIRA).

BetaTrain imaging modalities offer clinical applicability and complementarity. In case of the optical imaging modalities, established technology has been chosen efficiently providing a broad range of information complementing the other imaging, laboratory and functional tests.

The research objectives are reflected in two research sub programmes (RSP).

RSP1 aims at characterisation, crossvalidation and mapping of the different imaging modalities. In RSP2, the main focus lies on projects aiming to improve the image quality in order to increase the sensitivity of the signal detection. There will be extensive crosstalk between these two complementary RSPs. The improvements in image quality obtained in RSP2 will have a direct influence on the results obtained in RSP1, while on the other hand, the work in RSP1 will help to identify challenges that can only be addressed by improved image processing.

Each RSP is composed of well-defined research tasks and is managed by two specific partners experienced in that particular field. They monitor the execution and progress of the work plan. Research projects are partially based on work that is ongoing in the labs of the different BetaTrain partners. The broad scope in terms of the spectrum of different imaging technologies covered will create ample opportunity for collaborations, synergy and ”comparative imaging”. Fundamental or technological advances achieved for one imaging modality can be directly transferred and applied to other projects.

All Individual Research Projects require close collaborations, thus promoting the need to interact with other partners during e.g. research visits and secondments. Each project has been selected for its potential to constitute a successful PhD project due to a right combination of challenging/innovative tasks and more straightforward research assignments. It is important to note that we will focus on the development of only a few, highly promising new (radio)tracer molecules within this Research Programme in order to concentrate our forces on creating a platform for beta cell and diabetes imaging that will form the basis for clinical characterisation of individuals with impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes, but will also be of great scientific value.