Dr. Oliver Bruns

Helmholtz Pioneer Campus (HPC) Principal Investigator

Next-Generation in vivo Imaging with novel short-wave infrared emitting probes.


Professorship of Biological Imaging (Prof. Dr. Ntziachristos)

Department of Medicine

Academic Career and Research Areas

The research of Dr. Oliver Bruns (born 1980) is dedicated to the development of outstanding techniques in biological imaging. The improvement of a new targeted contrast agent and new imaging modalities will pave the way for personalized therapy and high-precision treatments. Short wavelength infrared (SWIR) imaging is a new technology for biomedical applications. It offers several advantages in the visible and near-infrared range. The general absence of autoflourescence, low light absorption of blood and tissue and reduced scattering. Recent advances in detection technology and the development of pores have shown that, in principle, SWIR imaging enables applications that were previously not feasible with any other technology.

Dr. Oliver Bruns was the first independent group leader (PI) to be recruited to the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus. Since January 2019, he is also the head of an Emmy Noether Reserach Group. Prior to this, he was a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the group of Prof. Moungi Bawendi and was a postdoctoral fellow with a long-term fellowship from the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). In Germany, his last position was as research associate at the Heinrich-Pette-Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology, in Hamburg. He completed his doctoral thesis under Prof. Ulrike Beisiegel (meanwhile President of the Georg-August University Göttingen) at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf with a scholarship from the German National Academic Foundation. He studied biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Hamburg.


    • Emmy Noether Reserach Group (2017)
    • EMBO Long-Term Fellowship (2011)
    • Karl-Heinz Hölzer Award for Interdisciplinary Medical Research (PhD-Thesis) (2010)
    • Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes Fellowship (2006)
    • Award for the best diploma thesis in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology (2006)

    Emily D. Cosco, Anthony L. Spearman, Shyam Ramakrishnan, Jakob G. P. Lingg, Mara Saccomano, Monica Pengshung, Bernardo A. Arús, Kelly C. Y. Wong, Sarah Glasl&, Vasilis Ntziachristos, Martin Warmer, Ryan R. McLaughlin, Oliver T. Bruns and Ellen M. Sletten: „Shortwave infrared polymethine fluorophores matched to excitation lasers enable noninvasive, multicolor in vivo imaging in real time“. Nature Chemistry, accepted


    Carr JA, Aellen M, Franke D, So PTC, Bruns OT, Bawendi MG.: „Absorption by water increases fluorescence image contrast of biological tissue in the shortwave infrared“. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Sep 11;115(37):9080-9085.


    Carr JA, Franke D, Caram JR, Perkinson CF, Saif M, Askoxylakis V, Datta M, Fukumura D, Jain RK, Bawendi MG, Bruns OT.: „Shortwave infrared fluorescence imaging with the clinically approved near-infrared dye indocyanine green“. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Apr 24;115(17):4465-4470.


    Oliver T Bruns, Thomas S Bischof, Daniel K Harris, Daniel Franke, Yanxiang Shi, Lars Riedemann, Alexander Bartelt, Frank B Jaworski, Jessica A Carr, Christopher J Rowlands, Mark W B Wilson, Ou Chen, He Wei, Gyu Weon Hwang, Daniel M Montana, Igor Coropceanu, Odin B Achorn, Jonas Kloepper, Joerg Heeren, Peter T C So, Dai Fukumura, Klavs F Jensen, Rakesh K Jain, Moungi G Bawendi.: „Next-generation in vivo optical imaging with short-wave infrared quantum dots“. Nat Biomed Eng 1, 0056 (2017).


    Bruns OT, Ittrich H, Peldschus K, Kaul MG, Tromsdorf UI, Lauterwasser J, Nikolic MS, Mollwitz B, Merkel M, Bigall NC, Sapra S, Reimer R, Hohenberg H, Weller H, Eychmüller A, Adam G, Beisiegel U, Heeren J.: „Real time magnetic resonance imaging and quantification of lipoprotein metabolism in vivo using nanocrystals“. Nat Nanotechnol. 2009 Mar;4(3):193-201.