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R&D actors in spotlight – Kuopio Biomedical Imaging Unit (Kuopio-BIU) 

R&D actors in spotlight – Kuopio Biomedical Imaging Unit (Kuopio-BIU) 
Ecosystem News

Kuopio Brain & Mind, the local network of Neurocenter Finland in Eastern Finland, and Kuopio Health Co-op continue to co-operate to make the R&D actors and environments and their expertise in the Kuopio region more visible. Published in 2022, the Health Ecosystem Map for Startups in Kuopio Region, introduced key organizations in Kuopio Health innovation ecosystem.

Kuopio Biomedical Imaging Unit (Kuopio-BIU) provides open-access services for research and imaging. Kuopio-BIU has excellent facilities and equipment for the in vivo imaging and ex vivo MRI microscopy of small animals, biological tissue and other research materials in different basic and applied research areas. Kuopio-BIU’s strengths lie in world-class small-animal MRI and a strong combination of different imaging methods. The University of Eastern Finland also provides high-quality animal models and expertise in biotechnology and contrast molecule synthesis.   

Excellence in biomedical imaging at the University of Eastern Finland

Kuopio-BIU is located at the A.I.Virtanen Institute at the University of Eastern Finland and serves as a national, preclinical magnetic imaging centre as a part of the Biocenter Kuopio and the Finnish Biomedical Imaging Node (FiBI) in the pan-European Euro-BioImaging consortium. Kuopio-BIU provides research services and training on the independent use of the imaging infrastructure as an open-access service.  

 ”The key equipment at Kuopio-BIU induces five 0.7 T – 11.7 T MRI scanners, a dDNP hyperpolarization machine, microCT and two PET systems, one of which enables simultaneous PET/MRI imaging of small animals”, Professor Olli Gröhn, Director of Kuopio-BIU, summarises. “We launched our international activities in the early 2000s, and today, a total of 6 research groups for the University of Eastern Finland are involved in our operations. Our range of equipment, facilities and competence is broad also on an international scale, and available for academic research and business operators. We are happy to support the users in solving challenges related to technical aspects and conducting research as a part of our tailored service range.”  

Professor Olli Gröhn, Director of Kuopio-BIU, presenting the unit’s latest PET/MRI machine, which is particularly suitable for small animal imaging.

Part of the Kuopio region success story

For over two decades by now, the competence of Kuopio-BIU has been following and supporting the spearheads of basic and clinical research in the Kuopio region. “In addition to imaging in neuroscience, we collaborate closely with cancer research and research in cardiovascular diseases, among other fields”, says Gröhn.   

The most recent example of this multidisciplinary cooperation is a three-year research project funded by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation)  (EUR 1.5 million). Meanwhile, cooperation between KUH and Kuopio-BIU aims to improve the prognosis of epilepsy patients and the accuracy of surgical treatment. “At Kuopio-BIU, we examine the tissue removed during an epilepsy surgery using imaging and develop new methods suitable for clinical use in collaboration. We have also received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the United States for projects in which we are developing a new functional and uninterrupted cerebral MRI method.  The method can open new opportunities in examining spinal cord injuries, neurodegenerative disorders and pain states, among others. A recently completed ERDF project strengthened the national and regional centre of excellence for in vivo imaging in biomedicine in cooperation with local businesses”. The new competence acquired in the development projects will also eventually serve areas such as diagnostics and drug development, both in the form of academic cooperation and research service.  

”Kuopio Biomedical Imaging Unit is a brilliant partner and service provider for operators in the biomedicine industry, such as Charles River. Our company’s current imaging expertise strongly relies on the historical imaging tradition, education and front-line imaging research recognised the world over. In drug development, particularly in brain diseases, imaging and its different forms are tools used for the monitoring of diagnoses and drug response. The flexible operating model based on cooperation at BIU provides an excellent opportunity for creating added value to many drug development projects, including challenging ones. As a developer of new, advanced imaging methods, BIU is a world-class academic trailblazer,” says Antti Nurmi, Managing Director and EU CBO, Charles River Discovery Research Services. 

“We provide the whole ecosystem with access to our top-level international networks in the fields of imaging techniques, education and training, data services as well as biological and biomedical imaging. Contact us!” Olli Gröhn tips.  

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