The Human Organ Atlas Hub (HOAHub)
The Human Organ Atlas Hub (HOAHub) was launched September 21, 2023, with the first beamtime experiments beginning January 2024 at the European Synchrotron facility (ESRF).
Professor Peter Lee and Dr Claire Walsh of UCL Mechanical Engineering, working as part of an international team from eight institutes including Dr. Bernadette de Bakker of Amsterdam UMC, have spearheaded an imaging research project aiming to use transformational X-ray tomography technology to scan whole human organs, and eventually our entire body, to an extremely high resolution – estimated resolution to be approaching one fiftieth of a human hair.
The group – comprised of a mixture of engineers, medics, educators, pathologists, cardiologists and more – have developed a new scanning technique collaboration with the ESRF, named Hierarchal Phase-Contract Tomography (HiP-CT). The technology enables whole intact organs to be examined at multiple scales all the way down to the cellular level. The scans can be created with a resolution of 25 microns, which is around twenty times the resolution of a clinical CT scanner and then small regions can be zoomed in on at <1 micron resolution, which is five hundred times the resolution of a CT scanner.
The team at UCL Mechanical Engineering partnered with Dr Paul Tafforeau from the ESRF, together with Drs Max Ackermann and Danny Jonigk from Aachen, to co-develop the technique. This international research project is funded by the European Union and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).