Project grant from Danish Council for Independent Research

Friday 05 May 17
by Signe Rømer Holm


Jan Henrik Ardenkjær-Larsen
Head of Section, Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 45 25 39 18
The "Spin Bank" – turning electron spin on and off

Professor Jan Henrik Ardenkjær-Larsen has received a grant of DKK 5,009,807 from Danish Council for Independent Research, Technology and Production Council, for the research project ‘The "Spin Bank" – turning electron spin on and off’. 

The project is a collaboration between HYPERMAG and Aarhus University’s MR Research Centre at Skejby Hospital, with Cambridge University and Aix Marseille Université as associated partners.

Hyperpolarized Magnetic Resonance is a new medical imaging modality with the potential of revolutionizing diagnostic radiology. Hyperpolarization is a means to achieve a more than 100,000-fold enhancement of the signal from bio-probes injected into patients. This makes it possible to follow disease progressions at the biochemical level, thereby enabling a more accurate diagnosis and a closer monitoring of treatment response for the individual patient. The first clinical studies in patients with prostate cancer have shown that the method has great potential when it comes to detecting aggressive cancer forms, which increases the chance of the patient starting on the most efficient treatment regime as early as possible.
However, the hyperpolarized signal is short lived, and therefore the hyperpolarization needs to be produced close to the site of use. The culprits are the electron spins, the source of polarization in the solid state during Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP), but also an efficient drain of polarization subsequently both in the solid state and in the liquid state when the sample is dissolved. In the project Professor Ardenkjær-Larsen and his collaborating partners aim to address this challenge with a novel, ingenious idea that allow us to turn electron spins on and off. The idea is based on a recent discovery that electron spins can be created by UV light and annihilated thermally. This would be a paradigm shift in hyperpolarization by enabling solid and liquid samples free of the relaxation effect of the unpaired electron spins.

A positive outcome will result in the development of new bio-probes with stronger signal and increase the feasibility of the technology as the project enables the technology to be rolled out to more hospitals for the benefit of patients. 

Grant number DFF7017-00322B. See press release from Danish Council for Independent Research here.

Danish Council for Independent Research

The primary aim of the Council is to support and promote the most original ideas and initiatives within Danish research.

On annual basis, the Danish Council for Independent Research awards 600 grants to research projects. In total, the grants amount to well over DKK 1 billion. In order to ensure that the grants are given to the absolutely best research projects, the grants will be allocated via open calls without thematic limitations. The Council supports specific time-limited research activities and scientific quality is the most important assessment criteria when distributing the funds.


See more about the council and its portfolio here.

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15 JANUARY 2021