Diagnostic and Therapeutic Ultrasound

Ultrasound is one of the most frequently used imaging modalities in clinical routine. It is real-time, safe, transportable and offers excellent spatial resolution and tissue contrast. However, for a long period of time its clinical applications did not exploit its full potential. With the introduction of microbubbles as contrast agents, ultrasound enables a detailed and quantitative characterization of tissue microvascularisation, and recently, the first molecularly targeted microbubbles have entered clinical application. In addition, there is clear evidence that contrast-enhanced ultrasound has significant potential to improve drug delivery by using mechanical forces from oscillating microbubbles to open biological barriers. Furthermore, microbubbles can also be loaded with drugs and act as drug carriers releasing their content only at the target site after local ultrasound exposure.
Ultrasound imaging has been one of the main research topics of Professor Fabian Kiessling for over 10 years. With the new “Diagnostic and Therapeutic Ultrasound” group in ExMI, it is our intention to intensify our efforts in ultrasound research and to focus our translational research on

  • multifunctional microbubble design
  • quantitative, functional and molecular vascular characterization
  • combination of ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging
  • sonopermeabilisation and sonoporation

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Fabian Kiessling


Selected publications

Research Papers

  1. Lammers T, Koczera P, Fokong S, Gremse F, Ehling J, Vogt M, Pich A, Storm G, van Zandvoort M, and Kiessling F. Theranostic USPIO-Loaded Microbubbles for Mediating and Monitoring Blood-Brain Barrier Permeation. Advanced Functional Materials. 2014;25(1):36‑43.
  2. Liu Z, Lammers T, Ehling J, Fokong S, Bornemann J, Kiessling F, and Gätjens J. Iron oxide nanoparticle-containing microbubble composites as contrast agents for MR and ultrasound dual-modality imaging. Biomaterials. 2011;32(26):6155‑63.
  3. Palmowski M, Lederle W, Gaetjens J, Socher M, Hauff P, Bzyl J, Semmler W, Günther RW, and Kiessling F. Comparison of conventional time–intensity curves vs. maximum intensity over time for post-processing of dynamic contrast-enhanced ultrasound. European Journal of Radiology. 2010;75(1):149.
  4. Kiessling F, Krix M, Heilmann M, Vosseler S, Lichy M, Fink C, Farhan N, Kleinschmidt K, Schad L, Fusenig NE, and Delorme S. Comparing Dynamic Parameters of Tumor Vascularization in Nude Mice Revealed by Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Contrast-Enhanced Intermittent Power Doppler Sonography. Investigative Radiology. 2003;38(8):516‑24.
  5. Grouls C, Hatting M, Rix A, Pochon S, Lederle W, Tardy I, Kuhl CK, Trautwein C, Kiessling F, and Palmowski M. Liver Dysplasia: US Molecular Imaging with Targeted Contrast Agent Enables Early Assessment. Radiology. 2013;267(2):487‑95.
  6. Baetke SC, Rix A, Tranquart F, Schneider R, Lammers T, Kiessling F, and Lederle W. Squamous Cell Carcinoma Xenografts: Use of VEGFR2-targeted Microbubbles for Combined Functional and Molecular US to Monitor Antiangiogenic Therapy Effects. Radiology. 2016;278(2):430‑40.
  7. Palmowski M, Huppert J, Hauff P, Reinhardt M, Schreiner K, Socher MA, Hallscheidt P, Kauffmann GW, Semmler W, and Kiessling F. Vessel Fractions in Tumor Xenografts Depicted by Flow- or Contrast-Sensitive Three-Dimensional High-Frequency Doppler Ultrasound Respond Differently to Antiangiogenic Treatment. Cancer Research. 2008;68(17):7042‑9.
  8. Palmowski M, Huppert J, Ladewig G, Hauff P, Reinhardt M, Mueller MM, Woenne EC, Jenne JW, Maurer M, Kauffmann GW, Semmler W, and Kiessling F. Molecular profiling of angiogenesis with targeted ultrasound imaging: early assessment of antiangiogenic therapy effects. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. 2008;7(1):101‑9.
  9. Curaj A, Wu Z, Fokong S, Liehn EA, Weber C, Burlacu A, Lammers T, van Zandvoort M, and Kiessling F. Noninvasive Molecular Ultrasound Monitoring of Vessel Healing After Intravascular Surgical Procedures in a Preclinical Setup. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2015;35(6):1366‑73.
  10. Kiessling F, Gaetjens J, and Palmowski M. Application of Molecular Ultrasound for Imaging Integrin Expression. Theranostics. 2011;1:127‑34.

Reviews / Perspectives

  1. Kiessling F, Fokong S, Bzyl J, Lederle W, Palmowski M, and Lammers T. Recent advances in molecular, multimodal and theranostic ultrasound imaging. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. 2014;72:15‑27.
  2. Kiessling F, Fokong S, Koczera P, Lederle W, and Lammers T. Ultrasound Microbubbles for Molecular Diagnosis, Therapy, and Theranostics. Journal of Nuclear Medicine. 2012;53(3):345‑8.
  3. Paefgen V, Doleschel D, and Kiessling F. Evolution of contrast agents for ultrasound imaging and ultrasound-mediated drug delivery. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2015;6.

Group members

Anne Rix

Anne (B.Sc. in Molecular Biology, JGU Mainz) works as a lab technician and her main focus is functional and molecular ultrasound methods for assessing tumor angiogenesis and anti-angiogenic therapy effects. In addition, she is working on immunohistochemistry, microscopy and on different diagnostic and therapeutic in vivo and ex vivo experiments.

A. Rix

Milita Darguzyte

Milita (M.Sc. Biomedical Engineering, FH Aachen, 2017) is working on a project “Theranostic Riboflavin-Targeted Drug Delivery”. The project comprises synthetic work on the theranostic drug carriers, their in vitro and in vivo characterization as well as the evaluation of their therapeutic potential in tumor bearing mice.

M. Darguzyte

Jasmin Baier

Jasmin (M.Sc. in Biology, Goethe University Frankfurt, 2016) is working on the influence of molecular imaging on study results and animal welfare.

J. Baier

Gurbet Köse

Gurbet (M.Sc., University of Bristol) is part of the research training group “Tumor-Targeted Drug Delivery”. She works on the project “Sonoporation to improve drug delivery to breast cancer”. The project comprises work on microbubbles in combination with sonoporation to improve drug delivery system accumulation and efficacy.

K. Gurbet

Lisa Marie Bartmann

Lisa (MD Student) is working on Riboflavin-Uptake by endothelial, epithelial and tumor cells.

Elena Rama

Elena (M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology, University of Urbino, Italy 2018) is a PhD student involved in a project focused on the development and monitoring of biohybrid tissue-engineered vascular grafts both in vitro and in animal models, via using several hybrid imaging techniques as PET-MRI.

E. Rama

Jinwei Qi

Jinwei Qi (Master of Imaging Medicine and Nuclear Medicine, Dalian Medical University, 2014) works on ultrasound-mediated gene delivery via lipoplex coupled to PBCA-based polymeric microbubbles.

J. Qi

Junlin Chen

Junlin Chen (Master of Biomedical Engineering and Ultrasound, Chongqing Medical University, China 2019) is a PhD student, who is involved in a project regarding establishment and evaluation of ultrasound mediated RNA delivery.

J. Chen

Zuzanna Anna Magnuska

Zuzanna (M.Sc. Biomedical Engineering 2018 RWTH Aachen, Germany and Ing. Biomedical Engineering 2018 CTU Prague, Czech Republic) works on artificial intelligence-based solutions for automated segmentation, analysis and processing of multimodal medical images (pre-clinical and clinical data).

Z. Magnuska

Helen Heinrichs

Helen Heinrichs (M.Sc. in Global Health, Maastricht University, 2019) is involved in a project focusing on artificial intelligence in diagnosis as part of precision medicine. Her research revolves around identifying social, ethical and professional challenges that might hinder the uptake of AI in the clinical routine work.

H. Heinrichs

Sarah Schraven

Sarah Schraven(M. Sc. Drug Development, 2020, KU Leuven, Belgium) is a PhD student working on in vivo imaging of the gut-liver axis using fluorescence molecular tomography, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.

S. Schraven