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Molecular Imaging

Molecular imaging is a new discipline that unites molecular biology and in vivo imaging. Molecular imaging techniques are non-invasive and do not have any known side effect. It enables the visualisation of the cellular function as well as monitoring of different molecular processes in living organisms without perturbing them. Advances in molecular imaging can be applied to improve diagnosis of cancer, neurological and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, it allows for optimization of new therapies in both the pre-clinical and clinical stages, which can ultimately lead to improved disease treatment. Earlier diagnosis and more effective therapies both significantly impact the healthcare industry.

Molecular and functional imaging gained further momentum following the sequencing of the human genome. It was listed as one of the “ten emerging technologies that will change the world” by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 2003 Technology Review. Increasingly, the task of today's molecular imaging scientist is becoming more complex and demanding as new directions in basic, applied and industrial research are unravelled. A recent report (Angelique Louie et al., Ann. Biomed. Eng., 2006) predicted that with such rapid expansion of new imaging techniques, there should also be a corresponding expansion in the imaging curriculum within biomedical engineering programs. A tailored teaching program such as EMMI was therefore created to train multi-disciplinary molecular imaging scientists of tomorrow.

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