Tasks and mission – networking and training

TBI is coordinating the Finnish national imaging infrastructure network (FiBi), and is responsible for national funding applications, investment planning and reporting for several funding sources.

Turku BioImaging and the FiBI organization as a whole have been actively conducting self-evaluation, reporting of ongoing activity for external evaluation, and coordination of future investments, so that maximal added value can be obtained. In this regard, Finnish imaging units are exemplary in the global bioimaging unit, for their organised practices, open access policies and high quality tools.

TBI, chaired by Prof. John Eriksson, has a highly experienced staff that takes care of the administration, coordination, web tool development, public relations and funding acquisition of the organization and also actively participates in teaching.

Additionally, TBI also trains scientists in modern imaging technologies and hosts an MSc programme in biomedical imaging.

Technologies available at Turku BioImaging

There are two main core technology units in TBI: Cell Imaging Core (CIC) and Turku PET Centre. These core facilities and other service providers of TBI have their own dedicated staff. In addition, numerous other smaller units, such as the Laboratory of Biophysics and the Laboratory of Electron Microscopy, provide important imaging modalities. Other affiliated facilities, such as Turku Centre for Disease Modelling, Auria Biobank and the Turku University Hospital, offer supporting and related services.

The CIC is a centralized imaging facility that offers support and instrumentation for both conventional and advanced light microscopy and flow cytometry. Additionally there are possibilities for nanoscale imaging using techniques, such as super-resolution and atomic force microscopy. CIC also offers theoretical and hands-on training, experiment design consultation and image analysis services. CIC serves approximately 200 users every year, with services open to both national and international academic and industrial users.

Turku PET Centre is a Finnish National Research Institute for the use of short-lived positron emitting isotopes in the field of medical research. Turku PET Centre employs short-lived positron emitting isotopes for a number of in vivo -imaging techniques that are in high demand in clinical diagnostics and practice as well as in biomedical research. Apart from PET tracer and drug discovery and development, image analyses and modeling, Turku PET Centre has research expertise especially in the fields of translational, cardiovascular and metabolic research, neuroscience, and oncology. Currently, Turku PET Centre employs nearly 200 staff members.

TBI as partner in Euro-BioImaging

In addition to national activities, TBI has a very central role in building up the pan-European imaging network, Euro-BioImaging (EuBI) (www.eurobioimaging.eu) and its worldwide extension, Global BioImaging and in the Nordic imaging network.

In recent years, tremendous development of imaging techniques has revolutionized biomedical research. Access to these cutting-edge techniques is often a bottleneck for the researchers. EuBI aims to overcome this problem by establishing a coordinated open-access network of imaging infrastructure in Europe, as outlined through EuBI, scientists from Europe and beyond can gain access to any of the imaging technologies offered by the EuBI Nodes. The future of imaging lies in strong global networking.

The EuBI infrastructure consists of a set of complementary, strongly interlinked, and geographically distributed Nodes in different Member countries empowered by a strong supporting and coordinating entity, the EuBI Hub. From which the users will be directed to their desired imaging technology and served by the respective EuBI Nodes.

The EuBI Hub and the Statutory Seat of the EuBI legal structure ERIC will be located in Turku, in partnership with European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg (providing expertise in biological imaging) and University of Torino, Italy (providing expertise in medical imaging).

Therefore, TBI has a key role in EuBI, ensuring excellence in bioimaging expertise and infrastructures not only in Turku, but keeping TBI at the very forefront of imaging globally. EuBI is now in the Interim Phase and it started its interim operation in May 2016. Finland submitted the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) application to European Commission (EC) in March 2017, and the EuBI ERIC will be launched to Operation Phase in 2018.

In addition to the Hub, Finland also hosts one of the EuBI Nodes. This Finnish Node is a multi-sited advanced light microscopy node consisting of three partners: Turku, Oulu and Helsinki (http://www.eurobioimaging.fi).

Master’s Degree Programme in Biomedical Imaging

Turku BioImaging coordinates the international MSc Degree Programme in Biomedical Imaging (BIMA), that started in autumn 2010 (www.bioimaging.fi/program). BIMA is organized in co-operation by the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University and it is part of the unique educational ensemble of MSc Programmes in Biomedical Sciences, formed around the spearhead expertise areas of Turku universities. The programme has been assembled on the true imaging strongholds of Turku, and comprises a truly interdisciplinary array of prominent research groups and departments. The master’s programme aims to train the future imaging and image analysis experts for increasing demands of both imaging related basic and medical research as well as imaging core facility personnel.