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High-tech collaboration supports fibrosis research

Up to 45 per cent of all deaths in industrialised countries are caused by fibrotic diseases. Through boundary-crossing research and the high-tech MAX IV laboratory in Lund it is possible to increase the knowledge of fibrosis – bringing a cure closer.

– Fibrosis is a form of scarring that can affect all types of damaged organs and tissues in the body. When this process takes place in an out of control manner it leads to damaged organ function. One example of this is cirrhosis of the liver in which the sufferer often dies of liver failure, explains Anja Schmidt-Christensen.

She is a biologist and, with her research, she hopes to increase the understanding of what happens in the body during fibrosis. With increased knowledge, it would be possible to slow down the process with some form of drug treatment.

The high-tech MAX IV laboratory outside Lund uses synchrotron light, a technique that makes it possible to achieve high-resolution 3D images of, for example, a fibrosis-affected liver. The technique can help advance Anja’s research.

– We need the technical expertise that exists at MAX IV to be able to carry out the experiments with synchrotron light, says Anja Schmidt-Christensen.

As one of 194 early-career researchers, Anja has had the opportunity to get to know the MAX IV and ESS facilities in Lund. The researchers have received training and knowledge of how to use MAX IV’s synchrotron light and the ESS facility’s neutrons in their research. The programme, called MAX4ESSFUN, was part of the project ESS & MAX IV: Cross Border Science and Society. The project was partly funded by Interreg Öresund-Kattegat-Skagerrak.

– We have really benefited from MAX4ESSFUN and the collaboration across Öresund. Immunologists from Lund University have worked with experts in synchrotron-based microtomography from MAX IV, and with experts from the Technical University of Denmark who have been good at managing large amounts of data from images – and analysing it, says Anja Schmidt-Christensen, who states:

– Collaboration takes the research to a higher level.

As one of 41 researchers, Anja Schmidt-Christensen has been selected to continue collaborating across borders in the project HALOS. HALOS brings ESS and MAX IV together with the DESY and European XFEL facilities in Hamburg.

Watch a film about Anja Schmidt-Christensen’s research below.

ESS & MAX IV: Cross Border science and society contributes to the UN SDG goal #3 of Good Health and Well-being.

Article background photo: MAX IV / Perry Nordeng