The main division the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine; INM-5: Nuclear Chemistry is located at the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, where novel radioligands are designed and developed to decode the complex functions and structure of the human brain. The first main steps of applied Nuclear Chemistry involve the production and radiochemical separation of radionuclides from irradiated targets. Subsequently, these radionuclides are introduced into biomolecules. The latter requires the development of dedicated labeling methods. The radiolabeled molecular probes are finally used for medical imaging approaches. Molecular imaging using radiolabeled probes allows to visualize physiological and pathophysiological processes on the molecular level. This information helps to understand brain functions and pathological dysfunctions. For example, pathological protein aggregates associated with neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease can be visualized. In Jülich, state-of-the-art laboratories and a high-performance cyclotron are available to perform cutting edge research in Nuclear Chemistry.
The Institute of Radiochemistry and Experimental Molecular Imaging (IREMB) is affiliated to the University Hospital of Cologne. It consists of an interdisciplinary team of radiochemists and biologists who develop novel 18F-labeling strategies to synthesize intelligent radiotracers for disease diagnosis. These labeled probes are evaluated in biological in vitro and in vivo systems. A small-animal imaging facility allows the measurement of the biodistribution of tracers in healthy and diseased animals.
A third division of Nuclear Chemistry is the research group of Radioanalytics at the Institute of Biochemistry at the University of Cologne. This division focuses on classical methods of Nuclear Chemistry involving the development of radiochemical separation techniques for application in geology, environmental analysis, nuclear physics and archeometry.
The three divisions represent the fundamental basis for bridging different research areas of Nuclear Chemistry. All three divisions offer excellent interdisciplinary research opportunities for scientists of diverse disciplinary background.