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Interventional Cardiology and Imaging

Principal Investigator: Dr. Alexander Maier

What we are interested in…

1. Immunoimaging in Cardiology

The immune reaction is a major characteristic of cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction and heart failure. Assessing disease severity is essential for precise patient stratification.  Molecular imaging can indicate tissue-based disease status, detect early molecular changes and provide whole-body information. Our scope of research is to develop, investigate and apply innovative in-vivo imaging methods to study immune profiles in cardiovascular diseases. While conventional ex vivo snapshot techniques offer vital information, they do not yield longitudinal insights. In vivo imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) can fill this void.

2. Interventional cardiac MRI

In this context we are also interested in innovative interventional cardiology approaches. Improvements on MRI hard- and software paved the way for MRI-guided cardiac interventions. Since fluoroscopy guided cardiac catheterization has limitations including radiation exposure and low soft tissue contrast, interventional cardiac MRI could deliver high-resolution lesion-specific information about size, cellular composition, and dynamics. For this purpose, Perfluorocarbon nanoemulsions are of particular interest as potent tracers for immune system cells. They are considered biologically inert and easily quantifiable by 19F-MRI since there is no natural background signal in the mammalian body.

3. Big Data in Interventional Cardiology

Additionally, our group is part of the Center for Big Data Analysis in Cardiology (CeBAC), which investigates large patient cohorts and economic aspects in Cardiology. Big data analysis in interventional cardiology involves the use of complex datasets to extract meaningful insights, patterns, and correlations related to cardiac health, treatments, procedures and outcomes.

In summary, we aim at bridging basic and translational research from small and large animals in Interventional Cardiology and Imaging to human application.

The group is Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft funded and SFB1425 associated.


Meet and follow the PI on X (formerly Twitter) to see interesting updates from the lab.


Dr. med. Alexander Maier
FA Innere Medizin, Zusatzbezeichnung Notfallmedizin



0761 270 35461


For more information see orcid.org or Reserchgate.net


Natalie Hoppe
Technician, Lab manager

0761 270 70420


Dr. med. Annemarie Frosch


Dr. med. Bui Bao Khanh Dinh


Johannes Fröhlich
MD Student


Tay Duc Nguyen
MD Student


David Boll
MD Student



  • Sarah Schmidt, MD
  • Katharina Jakob, MD
  • Patricia Plaza-Heck, MD
  • Benedikt Hammerich, MD

Uncovering atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease by PET imaging
Maier A, Teunissen AJP, Nauta SA, Lutgens E, Fayad ZA, van Leent MMT
Nat Rev Cardiol. 2024 Apr 4.

Multiparametric immunoimaging maps inflammatory signatures in murine myocardial infarction models
Maier A, Toner YC, Munitz J, Sullivan NAT, Sakurai K, Meerwaldt AE, Brechbühl EES, Prévot G, Maas R, Ranzenigo A, Soultanidis G, van Elsas Y, Maas RJF, Razenigo A Rashidian M, Pérez-Medina C, Gropler RJ, Liu Y, Reiner T, Nahrendorf M, Swirski FK, Strijkers GJ, Teunissen AJP, Calcagno C, Fayad ZA, Mulder WJM, van Leent MMT
JACC Basic Transl Sci.2023 Apr 5;8(7):801-816.

P2Y12-dependent activation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells promotes emergency hematopoiesis after myocardial infarction
Seung H, Wrobel J, Wadle C, Bühler T, Chiang-Jurado D, Rettkowski J, Cabezas-Wallscheid N, Hechler B, Stachon P, Maier A, Weber C, Wolf D, Duerschmied D, Idzko M, Bode C, von zur Mühlen C, Hilgendorf I, Heidt T
Basic Res Cardiol. 2022 Mar 30;117(1):16.

Pulmonary artery 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose uptake by PET/CMR as a marker of pulmonary hypertension in sarcoidosis
Maier A, Liao SL, Lescure T, Robson PM, Hirata N, Sartori S, Narula N, Vergani V, Soultanidis G, Morgenthau A, Kovacic JC, Padilla M, Narula J, Jacobi A, Fayad ZA, Trivieri MG
JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2022 Jan;15(1):108-120.

P2Y12 inhibition in murine myocarditis results in reduced platelet infiltration and preserved ejection fraction
Schmidt SN, Reichard W, Kaufmann BA, Wadle C, von Elverfeldt D, Stachon P, Hilgendorf I, Wolf D, Heidt T, Duerschmied D, Peter K, Bode C, von zur Mühlen C, Maier A
Cells. 2021 Dec 4;10(12):3414.

Multimodal imaging of bacterial-host interface in mice and piglets with Staphylococcus aureus endocarditis
Panizzi P*, Krohn-Grimberghe M*, Keliher E, Ye YX, Grune J, Frodermann V, Sun Y, Muse CG, Begins K, Iwamoto Y, van Leent MMT, Meerwaldt A, Toner YC, Munitz J, Maier A, Soultanidis G, Calcagno C, Pérez-Medina C, Carlucci G, Riddell KP, Barney S, Horne G, Anderson B, Maddur-Appajaiah A, Verhamme IM, Bock PE, Wojtkiewicz GR, Courties G, Swirski FK, Church WR, Walz PH, Tillson DM, Mulder WJM, Nahrendorf M
Sci transl med. 2020 Nov 4;12(568):eaay2104.

Probing myeloid cell dynamics in ischemic heart disease by nanotracer hot spot imaging
Senders ML, Meerwaldt AE, van Leent MMT, Sanchez-Gaytan BL, van de Voort JC, Toner YC, Maier A, Klein ED, Sullivan NAT, Sofias AM, Groenen H, Faries C, Oosterwijk RS, van Leeuwen EM, Fay F, Chepurko E, Reiner T, Duivenvoorden R, Zangi L, Dijkhuizen RM, Hak S, Swirski FK, Nahrendorf M, Pérez-Medina C, Teunissen AJP, Fayad ZA, Calcagno C, Strijkers GJ, Mulder WJM
Nat Nanotechnol. 2020 May;15(5):398-405.

An iterative sparse deconvolution method for simultaneous multicolor 19F-MRI of multiple contrast agents
Schoormans J, Calcagno C, Daal MRR, Wüst RCI, Faries C, Maier A, Teunissen AJP, Naidu S, Sanchez-Gaytan BL, Nederveen AJ, Fayad ZA, Mulder WJM, Coolen BF, Strijkers GJ
Magn Reson Med. 2020 Jan;83(1):228-239.

A molecular intravascular ultrasound contrast agent allows detection of activated platelets on the surface of symptomatic human plaques
Maier A, Plaza-Heck P, Meixner F, Guenther F, Kaufmann BA, Kramer M, Heidt T, Zirlik A, Hilgendorf I, Reinöhl J, Stachon P, Bronsert P, Birkemeyer R, Neudorfer I, Peter K, Bode C, von zur Mühlen C.
Atherosclerosis. 2017 Oct 24;267:68-77.

Dual contrast molecular imaging allows noninvasive characterization of myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury after coronary vessel occlusion in mice by MRI
von Elverfeldt D*, Maier A*, Duerschmied D*, Braig M, Witsch T, Wang X, Mauler M, Neudorfer I, Menza M, Idzko M, Zirlik A, Heidt T, Bronsert P, Bode C, Peter K#, von zur Muhlen C#.
Circulation. 2014 Aug 19;130(8):676-87.

Prof. Dr. Dirk Westermann, University of Freiburg, Germany

Prof. Dr. Constantin von zur Mühlen and Prof. Dr. Timo Heidt, University of Freiburg, Germany

Prof. Dr. Michael Bock, University of Freiburg, Germany

Prof. Dr. Peter Kohl, University of Freiburg, Germany

Prof. Dr. Dominik von Elverfeldt and Dr. Wilfried Reichardt, University of Freiburg, Germany

Prof. Zahi Fayad, Prof. Willem Mulder and Dr. Mandy van Leent, New York City, USA

Prof. Dr. Daniel Dürschmied, University of Heidelberg/Mannheim, Germany

Prof. Dr. Dennis Wolf, University of Freiburg, Germany

Prof. Dr. Matthias Eder and Dr. Ann-Christin Eder, University of Freiburg, Germany

PD Dr. Dr. Christian Goetz, University of Freiburg, Germany

Prof. Dr. Heiko Heerklotz, University of Freiburg, Germany

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Flögel, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany

Prof. Dr. Beat Kaufmann, University of Basel, Switzerland

Prof. Dr. Karin Klingel, University of Tübingen, Germany

Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Peter, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia

Prof. em Dr. Dr. h.c. Christoph Bode, University of Freiburg, Germany

We seek highly motivated, creative, and innovative MD- and Master students. Students will be trained in all required methods, animal care, as well as in project design, data analysis, and presentation. You will be offered with the chance to present data on scientific conferences and supported with applications for scholarships. In case you are interested in our field of research please contact alexander.maier@uniklinik-freiburg.de.