The Scottish Molecular Imaging Meeting 2018 (SMIM2018) was conceived in order to bring together researchers in Scotland who work in the field of molecular imaging to foster new collaborations and develop exciting new research ideas. The meeting was held at the CRUK Beatson Institute in Glasgow on 19 September 2018, as Storm Ali swept over Scotland.


Deputy Lead for the SINAPSE Molecular Imaging topic group, Maria Clara Liuzzi, prepared the following summary of the meeting:


SMIM2018 was organised by Dr David Lewis (CRUK Beatson Institute), Dr Sally Pimlott (NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde), and Dr Kristin Flegal (University of Glasgow) and held on what resulted to be a very windy day. Despite the adverse weather, the event gathered together a large number of researchers from different parts of Scotland and Europe. David started the meeting welcoming the guests and Kristin gave an introduction about SINAPSE and its role in connecting medical imaging researchers in Scotland. There were four sessions spread across the whole day, the first two focused on technology development and the last two focused on translational imaging.

Prof Andy Harvey chaired the first session, which started with a talk by Dr Marc Vendrell (University of Edinburgh) about the development of new chemical probes containing activated fluorophores capable of image cellular compartments at different states and cells in different stages. The second speaker was Dr Adriana Tavares (University of Edinburgh) who gave an update on the TSPO tracer development and an intro of the PET is Wonderful (PiW) team, followed by a presentation of a modelling method via network analyses for large data sets.

There were two short proffered talks for this session: the first by Carlo Dedominicis (University of Aberdeen) about a preclinical study performed with the tracer 18F-AZ68 for imaging atherosclerotic plaques; the second by Dr William Tipping (University of Edinburgh) about the application of multimodal biorthogonal Raman spectroscopy for real-time imaging of live cells and drug distribution.

After a coffee break with exhibitions from the event’s sponsors, the second session – chaired by Prof Matteo Zanda – started with 2-minute pitches by each of the poster presenters, who would show their work to attendees later during the lunch and the following coffee breaks. After this, Prof Bertrand Tavitian (INSERM) gave a keynote talk introducing the PETRUS prototype, a new multimodality technique involving PET/CT and ultrafast ultrasound for simultaneous imaging for molecular, anatomical and functional purposes, with potential applications in cancer (e.g. information about metabolism, vascularization and tumour growth) and in CV diseases (e.g. information about tissue stiffness and perfusion). This was followed by a talk from Prof Duncan Graham (University of Strathclyde) on Raman, CARS and SERS microscopy for imaging of cells and tissue.

After the lunch break, the third session – chaired by Prof Hing Leung – started with a talk by Prof Pasquale Maffia (University of Glasgow) presenting his work in the application of molecular imaging in the detection of vascular inflammation. Following this, Dr Ahsan Akram (University of Edinburgh) introduced the development of an imaging agent selective for Gram-negative bacteria, and its translational approach in diagnosis of infection. Dr Bethany Mills (University of Edinburgh) then gave her short proffered talk introducing a method of real time imaging of bacteria: BAC THREE, followed by Judith Secklehner (CRUK Beatson Institute and ICL) talking about live imaging of NK cells to assess their localization and interaction with neutrophils.

The final session was chaired by Dr Gerry Thompson and started with Dr David Lewis presenting multimodality radionuclide studies to image metabolic heterogeneity and assess biomarkers for lung cancer stratification. The second speaker of the session was Dr Mark Dweck (University of Edinburgh) introducing the usage of 18F-Fluoride in CV diseases, to image areas of vascular calcification and predict adverse plaques and disease progression. The keynote speaker for this session was Prof Mark Lythgoe (UCL) who presented a summary of different imaging work involving a wide range of techniques, such as MRI convectography for drug delivery prediction, photoacoustic for cell tracking, thermomagnetic seeds guided to brain tumours, optical projection tomography, and neuroimaging of the glymphatic system, to mention a few.

After the talks, Dr William Tipping was announced as the ESMI Young Researcher Award winner for best proffered abstract, and the session terminated with concluding remarks by David Lewis, and a drinks reception. Positive feedback confirmed the meeting to be a successful event fulfilled with examples of very good research being conducted in different parts of the UK and Europe. Thanks also go to the meeting exhibitors (Bartec, Edinburgh Molecular Imaging, LabLogic, MI Labs, MR Solutions, and LI-COR) for their sponsorship.