Seeing is believing at upcoming Duke scientific-imaging conference

March 9, 2007
March 9, 2007, Durham, NC--To literally see the molecular changes within a cancer cell, it is necessary to image structures with submicron features at high fidelity; an emerging collaboration among physicists, engineers and physicians is helping to take such imaging to the next level.

March 9, 2007, Durham, NC--To literally see the molecular changes within a cancer cell, it is necessary to image structures with submicron features at high fidelity; an emerging collaboration among physicists, engineers and physicians is helping to take such imaging to the next level.

A conference being held at Duke University on March 11 to 13, 2007 will bring together experts to discuss new ways to create cellular- and molecular-scale scientific images drawn from the chemical, biological, and medical worlds.

"Seeing is Believing: The Future of Molecular and Biomolecular Imaging" is the first research conference held in the $115 million French Family Science Center, a new locus for basic chemistry and biology research and teaching at Duke. Talks will be given in the center's auditorium, beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 11. Talks on Monday, March 12, begin at 9 a.m. and talks on Tuesday, March 13, begin at 9:20 a.m.

Speakers and participants will discuss how to make pictures at scales previously unattainable of features and events unfolding within the bodies of humans and a variety of other animals. Although such images resemble photographs, they often are created not with cameras but with such tools as lasers, magnets, radio waves and radioactive nuclei.

Conventional medical imaging methods, such as x-rays, primarily measure structure. But the differences between diseased cells and normal cells are often very subtle. The new methods instead measure function, and promise to revolutionize diagnosis and treatment.

"The microscope has been around since the 1600s and magnetic-resonance imaging has been around since the 1970s," said conference organizer Warren Warren, a Duke professor of chemistry, radiology, and biomedical engineering. "But people on the program are using advanced technologies that often translate next-generation physics into ways to make these imaging methods do something different than they have in the past."

Another conference goal is to bring together specialists who do not commonly interact, Warren added. "If you get a typical physicist and a typical clinician in the same room, they're apt not to be talking the same language," he said. "These kinds of meetings at these kinds of centers are designed to get people talking the same language."

Warren also directs Duke's Center for Molecular and Biomolecular Imaging -- a pillar of the university's new strategic plan -which aims to build on existing research efforts to make Duke a world leader in this field.

"The broad focus of this imaging initiative is to identify new opportunities that would be capable of transforming medicine," he said.

For more information, contact: Monte Basgall at (919) 681-8057.

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