Photo by Elvira Eberhardt

70 MDKK for MR scanning and insights into metabolic processes

Monday 21 Oct 19


Jan Henrik Ardenkjær-Larsen
Head of Department, Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 40 27 27 75

Professor Jan Ardenkjær-Larsen from DTU Health Tech receives the prestigious ERC Synergy grant together with Professors in Physics Martin Plenio and Fedor Jelezko from Ulm University. The grant is given to cross-disciplinary research projects.

For the coming six years, the researchers will receive app. 70 MDKK to fund their research project.

”It’s a fantastic opportunity to work together with top researchers with different competencies. New ideas occur, when researchers see things from different perspectives, so I expect a lot from our future collaboration”, Jan Ardenkjær-Larsen says.

"New ideas occur, when researchers see things from different perspectives"
Professor Jan Ardenkjær-Larsen


Expanded application of magnetic scanning methods

NMR- and MRI-scanning have enabled new knowledge within a number of scientific fields – from chemistry to biology. A remaining challenge, however, is the very low inherent sensitivity that makes it difficult to use the methods for tests on the nanoscale or for observing metabolic processes, such as the ones that takes place in the body. The researchers hope that by developing new quantum mechanic software and technologies, which can enhance the weak magnetic deviations, detected by the scanner, and target it towards biological and medical imaging and spectroscopy, they can expand the application area substantially. With access to metabolic processes down to the last detail, new insights can be created in metabolic signatures from a wide range of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and the mechanisms behind neurodegenerative diseases.


Can pave the way for precision medicine

”Metabolic scans have the potential to revolutionize medical imaging and pave the way for personal precision medicine” Professor Jan Ardenkjær-Larsen emphasizes.

Jan Ardenkjær-Larsen has invented a method called Hyperpolarized Metabolic MR. Hyperpolarization can for example magnetize the glucose pyruvate, so it can be used as a tracer in MR scans. When it is injected into the patient before a MR scan, the MR signal is improved up to 20,000 times.


A collaboration project

The total grant for the project, with the acronym HyperQ, is 9.4 MEUR – app. 70 MDKK. From DTU Professor Jan Ardenkjær-Larsen, DTU Health Tech, receives 3.5 MEUR. In addition, Professor Fedor Jelezko and Professor Martin Plenio from Ulm University also receive part of the grant.

The HyperQ technology will be tested in connection with the challenges of biological and medical imaging and spectroscopy. A practical objective is to develop low cost and sensitive magnetic resonance applications, which can also be used in the clinic or smaller research institutions.

Jan Ardenkjær-Larsen i NMR laboratoriet. Foto: Torben Nielsen

Image text: Jan Ardenkjær-Larsen in the NMR lab. Photo: Torben Nielsen

Top image: Jan Ardenkjær-Larsen (red shirt), Martin Plenio (white shirt) and Fedor Jelezko (dark jacket). Photo: Elvira Eberhardt. 


Listen to Jan Ardenkjær-Larsen telling more about the HyperQ project here:



HYPERMAG – Center for Hyperpolarization in Magnetic Resonance – was established in 2015 based on a grant from the Danish National research Foundation.

The Center’s research team focuses on developing the science and technology behind hyperpolarization, and translate it to new applications with medicine, biology and chemistry. The Center is headed by Jan Henrik Ardenkjær-Larsen.

Read more about Hypermag here:

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