Malmö University

Malmö University

PHI and Malmö University have a long-standing collaboration, dating back to 2008. The collaboration has resulted in several peer reviewed publications and a doctoral thesis. In late 2016, the European Commission granted 2.1 million euro to GlycoImaging – a joint cancer research project to develop improved methods for clinically diagnosing cancer.

Current methods for diagnosing cancer primarily focus on the proteins associated with cancer. However, there is increasing evidence that carbohydrates play an important role in the development and pro­gression of malignant cancer. Current methods use and rely on antibodies created by living organisms. These natural antibodies, however, are not sufficiently specific to accurately detect and image carbohydrates.

The GlycoImaging project is coordinated by Malmö University and commercialized by PHI. Additional partners are Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und Prüfung (Germany’s federal technology research institute), Umeå, Copenhagen and Turku University.

“Oncology research and diagnostics are in need of low-cost and robust probes to detect carbohydrates. The goal of the GlycoImaging project is to meet this need by combining specific carbohydrate probes – in the form of molecular imprinted polymers or ‘plastic antibodies’ – with holographic microscopy.”
— Prof. Anette Gjörloff Wingren
Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University


Popular lecture on cancer research by Prof. Anette Gjörloff Wingren 2016 (in Swedish).

The GlycoImaging video (in Swedish).

A short presentation of GlycoImaging by Prof. Anette Gjörloff Wingren (in Swedish).


Digital Holographic Microscopy for biomarker detection in cancer

“In the near future”, Zahra El-Schich says, “you could have a HoloMonitor in every clinic. You could also customize cancer treatment for every patient by just using a simple tumor test.” Find out how.

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Fighting cancer at an early stage

Using nanoparticles and HoloMonitor technology Prof. Anette Gjörloff Wingren and her team aim to develop an early screening method that detects cancer by a simple blood test.

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Peer Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters

  • Quantitative Phase Imaging for Label-Free Analysis of Cancer Cells – Focus on Digital Holographic Microscopy
    Z. El-Schich, A Leida Mölder and A Gjörloff Wingren
    Appl Sci (2018)

    Review providing a current insight into QPI (quantitative phase imaging) applied to cancer research. The authors conclude that QPI is an ideal method for studying live cell dynamics by providing data from noninvasive monitoring over arbitrary time scales. The effect of drugs on migration, proliferation, and apoptosis of cancer cells are emerging fields suitable for QPI analysis. The authors also point out that need for QPI applications in clinical cancer diagnostics and treatments is emerging.

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  • Quantitative Phase-contrast Imaging – a Potential Tool for Future Cancer Diagnostics
    Anette Gjörloff-Wingren
    Cytometry Part A (2017)

    Prof. Gjörloff-Wingren has used holographic microscopy in cancer related research for over a decade. Gjörloff-Wingren discuss the emerging field of quantitative phase imaging and the novel label-free capabilities that promise to improve and succeed invasive laborious photochemical procedures

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  • Holography: the Usefulness of Digital Holographic Microscopy for Clinical Diagnostics
    Holographic Materials and Optical Systems 2017 (2017)

    Open access book chapter discussing the potential of holographic microscopy in clinical applications

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  • Supervised Classification of Etoposide-treated in Vitro Adherent Cells Based on Noninvasive Imaging Morphology
    Anna Leida Mölder, Johan Persson, Zahra El-Schich, Silvester Czanner, Anette Gjörloff-Wingren
    Journal of Medical Imaging (2017)

    The morphological changes observed occur before and at lower concentrations than a reduction in cell metabolic activity or viability. Three classifiers are compared and we report a best case sensitivity of 88% and specificity of 94% for classification of cells as treated/untreated.

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  • Interfacing Antibody-based Microarrays and Digital Holography Enables Label-free Detection for Loss of Cell Volume
    Zahra El-Schich, Emmy Nilsson, Anna S Gerdtsson, Christer Wingren and Anette Gjörloff Wingren
    Future science oa (2015)

    The article provides proof of concept for using holographic microscopy combined with antibody-based microarray technology for detecting morphological changes in captured cells.

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  • Digital Holographic Microscopy for Non-invasive Monitoring of Cell Cycle Arrest in L929 Cells
    Maria Falck Miniotis, Anthonny Mukwaya and Anette Gjörloff Wingren
    PLOS ONE (2014)

    We show that average cell phase volume results from DHM readings are comparable to the flow cytometry findings. DHM thus provides a non-disruptive alternative to flow cytometry. The technique has the potential to develop into a fast and cost-efficient method for pre-clinical monitoring of cancer treatment efficacy.

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  • Cells and Holograms — Holograms and Digital Holographic Microscopy as a Tool to Study the Morphology of Living Cells
    K. Alm, Z. El-Schich, M. Falck Miniotis, A. Gjörloff Wingren, B. Janicke and S. Oredsson
    Holography — Basic Principles and Contemporary Applications  (2013)
  • Digital Holography and Cell Studies
    K. Alm, H. Cirenajwis, L. Gisselsson, A. Gjörloff Wingren, B. Janicke, A. Mölder, S. Oredsson, J. Persson
    Holography-Research and technologies (2011)
  • Digital Holographic Microscopy — Innovative and Non-destructive Analysis of Living Cells
    Z. El-Schich, A. Mölder, M. Sebesta, L. Gisselsson, K. Alm, A. Gjörloff Wingren
    Microscopy: Science, Technology, Applications and Education (2010)
  • Non-invasive, Label-free Cell Counting and Quantitative Analysis of Adherent Cells Using Digital Holography
    Anna Mölder et al
    Journal of Microscopy (2008)

    Using a unique non-invasive labelfree cell counting method, results comparable to conventional cell counting using a haemocytometer were produced. The major advantage using HolomonitorTM M2 is the opportunity to easily access information about cell number, size, optical thickness and confluence in an automatic, non-invasive manner.

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Docteral Theses

  • Novel Imaging Technology and Tools for Biomarker Detection in Cancer
    Health and Society, Malmö University
    Zahra El-Schich (2016)
    To analyze morphological changes of death cells, HoloMonitor was used. Digital holographic microscopy is an approach for label-free non-invasive 3D imaging of cultured cells. We have analyzed cell death of adherent cancer cells using HoloMonitor and developed it to analyze suspension cells by combining this technique with antibody based micro­assays. HoloMonitor can be used for cell-death induced cell analysis of both adherent cells and suspension cells.
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Featured Applications

Label-free Cell Cycle Analysis

Live cell imaging cytometry of antibody captured suspension cells


Faculty of Health and Society,
Malmö University
Jan Waldenströms gata 25, AS:F502
205 06 Malmö, Sweden