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Cellular Cancer Biology Imaging Research (CCBIR)

Representative image for the Cellular Cancer Biology Imaging Research (CCBIR) of a image of the tumor microenvironment overlayed with a microscope.

Cellular Cancer Biology Imaging Research (CCBIR)

Credit: Joseph Szulczewski, David Inman, Kevin Eliceiri, and Patricia Keely (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

The Cellular Cancer Biology Imaging Research (CCBIR) Centers are developing and testing enabling imaging technologies at the cellular and organ scales driven by specific fundamental questions in cancer biology. Technology developers and cancer biologists at the forefront of their respective fields are working collaboratively within the CCBIR to produce state-of-the-art imaging technologies with the transformative potential to study cancer biology processes. 

The goal of the CCBIR program (funded through RFA-CA-21-002) is to facilitate innovation in advanced imaging technologies that could be applied to fundamental basic and pre-clinical research problems in cancer biology.  


Four CCBIR Centers have been funded to develop innovative imaging approaches to enable cancer biology studies. 

The Center for 3D Imaging in Cancer Cell Biology at Johns Hopkins University, led by Dr. Denis Wirtz and Dr. Laura Wood, is developing new tools to visualize breast and pancreatic tumors at high spatial resolution. The multidisciplinary team at this CCBIR Center is also integrating computational and experimental approaches to understand the spread of cancer cells from the primary tumor to distant sites. 

Dr. Vadim Backman, Dr. Daniela Matei, and Dr. Hao Zhang, are principal investigators of the  Northwestern University Center for Chromatin NanoImaging in Cancer. This CCBIR Center is developing, testing, and deploying new nanoimaging technologies (that could be used in combination with molecular and computational methods) to address research questions related to the origin of cancer stem cells and their ability to adapt to chemotherapies. 

The Center for Multiparametric Imaging of Tumor Immune Microenvironments at the University of Minnesota, led by Dr. Paolo Provenzano and Dr. Kevin Eliceiri, is advancing and developing live cell and tissue imaging platforms and quantitative analyses. Additionally, they are using these novel technologies to characterize physical barriers that limit anti-tumor immunity and immunotherapy.

At the CCBIR Center at the University of Texas Southwestern, Dr. Gaudenz Danuser and his team are developing a high-resolution imaging platform that can maintain sufficient experimental throughput to discover mechanisms of metastasis at the single-cell level.

CCBIR Outreach


CCBIR research is shared on Twitter: @NCIPhySci


Contact for CCBIR

For additional information about the CCBIR, please contact Dr. Steven Becker

Funded Projects

Institution Principal Investigator(s) Project Title
University of Minnesota Paolo Provenzano, Kevin Eliceiri Center for Multiparametric Imaging of Tumor Immune Microenvironments 
Northwestern University Vadim Backman, Daniela Matei, Hao Zhang Northwestern University Center for Chromatin NanoImaging in Cancer
Johns Hopkins University Denis Wirtz, Laura Wood Center for 3D Imaging in Cancer Cell Biology
University of Texas Southwestern Gaudenz Danuser Imaging Mechanisms of Metastatic Tumor Formation In Situ
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