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Torino, Italy

The University of Torino (UNITO), established since 1404, is one of the most ancient and prestigious Italian Universities. It has about 70.000 students, 4.000 academic, administrative and technical staff, 1800 post-graduate and post-doctoral students and 120 buildings in different areas in Turin and in key places in Piedmont. UNITO virtually covers every field of knowledge, has a remarkable research tradition in traditional subjects such as history, philosophy, law, economics and medicine and it is currently branching out into important modern sectors, such as biotechnology, food science, social politics, IT, performing arts and communication sciences. It is involved in different initiatives focused on the exploitation results, is shareholder of the University Incubator and is part of different innovation cluster initiatives based on strong relations with industries. Within UNITO, the Department of Molecular Biotechnologies and Health Sciences is devoted to education in biotechnology up to the highest academic levels and to the operation and management of cutting-edge research facilities in this scientific field, with emphasis on biomedicine and molecular imaging. It hosts about 80 researchers/technicians with expertise in different fields ranging from biology to medicine to chemistry. The main field of expertise of the group headed by Prof. Aime is the development of molecular imaging probes, among which MRI probes play a central role. Innovative MRI CAs are synthesised and tested in vivo at the CIM’s laboratories. The group has also a well-established expertise in the field parahydrogen hyperpolarisation aimed to in-vivo diagnostic applications.

Role In Project

The UNITO group led by Prof. Aime will be involved in the development of non-d-DNP hyperpolarised probes and, in particular, of parahydrogen hyperpolarised substrates. The hyperpolarisation group, situated at the Dept. of Molecular Biotechnology and health Sciences, in the Centre for Molecular Imaging (CIM), developed, since more than ten years, a well-established expertise in parahydrogen hyperpolarisation focused to diagnostic and bio-medical applications, from both experimental and theoretical point of view. A procedure called PHIP-SAH (PHIP-Side Arm hydrogenation) has been recently developed, that allows to considerably extend the applicability of PHIP-based hyperpolarisation to biologically relevant substrates such as acetate and pyruvate. The UNITO group will develop parahydrogen hyperpolarised probes, with particular attention to those that can be used as an alternative to GBCAs, and will test them in vivo, in MRI experiments on mice models of tumours.

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