Project summary

The development of MRI imaging agents has been central to the rise of MRI as a leading medical diagnostic tool. An MRI imaging agent is a molecular adjunct which enables enhanced image definition and reduced imaging times, as well as mapping of specific cell types. Molecular imaging agents measure specific biochemical function. This is particularly important as our understanding of the biology of diseased tissue improves. Thus molecular imaging agents which respond to the biological environment offer the promise of images which delineate specific, e.g. diseased cells, non-invasively and in real time. It is acknowledged that such approaches will be part of the coming revolution in disease identification and treatment. In this project new imaging agents will be developed which respond to specific biological triggers relevant to diseases, for e.g. changes in pH, ionic strength, oxygen tension, redox environment and temperature. The project will involve synthesis of novel functional polymers using controlled radical polymerisation methods and testing of these molecules as imaging agents in animal models. Disease targets include prostate cancer, glioma and Alzheimer's disease. The work will be conducted in the world-class facilities of the AIBN and the Centre for Advanced Imaging. The project is supported by the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council and involves extensive national and international collaboration.

Structure of polymeric 19F MRI contrast agents and interactions with protein


Project members

Lead Investigator

Professor Andrew Whittaker

Senior Group Leader
Whittaker Group

Researchers Involved

Dr Changkui Fu

NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow
Whittaker Group

Dr Cheng Zhang

Group Leader and ARC DECRA
Zhang Group