Experimental Paleoimaging Lab

Summary of Research

The Experimental Paleoimaging Lab investigates the use of novel diagnostic imaging and image processing methods in paleopathology as well as the adaptation of established diagnostic imaging methods to research in non-clinical settings. Improved, validated and field-proof non-invasive diagnostic imaging of ancient human tissues, will allow detecting and interpreting major diseases such as musculo-skeletal pathologies with greater reliability. Thus, the experimental determination of diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of different imaging modalities (e.g., THz Imaging, Micro-CT imaging, backscatter X-ray imaging) of such enigmatic samples is an essential part of this research. Main research outcomes shall be the identification of pathologies and of anatomical normal variants in mummified human tissues to learn more about the evolutionary perspectives of human health.

Project Collaboration

  • Diagnostic Imaging (CT, MRI) at the Institute of Forensic Medicine, UZH

  • Histology at the Institute of Diagnostic Pathology, University Hospital Zurich

  • Radiocarbon Dating at the Institute of Particle Physics and Astrophysics, ETHZ

  • Micro-CT and Breast-CT, Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospital of Zurich

  • Radiologie Balgrist

  • Prof. B. Blümich, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Aachen

  • Prof. M. Bock, Department of Radiology, University Hospital, Freiburg im Breisgau

  • Prof. Dr. M. Koch, AG Experimentelle Halbleiterphysik Philipps-Universität Marburg

Selected Published Articles

  • Seiler R, Eppenberger P, Rühli F. Application of portable digital radiography for dental investigations of ancient Egyptian mummies during archaeological excavations - evaluation and discussion of advantages and limitations of different approaches and projections. Imaging Science in Dentistry 2018, in press.

  • Panzer S, Borumandi F, Wanek J, Papageorgopolou C, Shved N, Colacicco G, Rühli F. Modelling Ancient Egyptian embalming: Radiological Assessment of Experimentally Mummified Human Tissue by CT and MRI. Skeletal Radiol 2013; 42:1527-1535. IF: 1.7

  • Wanek J, Papageorgopoulou C, Rühli F. Fundamentals of Paleoimaging Techniques: Bridging the Gap between Physicists and Paleopathologists. In: Grauer AL (ed): A companion to Paleopathology. Blackwell: 324-339, 2012.

  • Van Schaik K, Eisenberg R, Bekvalac J, Rühli F. The Radiologist in the Cript: Burden of Disease in the Past and Its Modern Relevance. Academic Radiology 2017 Oct;24(10): 1305-11.

  • Öhrström L, Fischer B, Bitzer A Wallauer J, Walther M, Rühli F. Terahertz imaging modalities of ancient Egyptian mummified objects and a naturally mummified rat. Anat Rec (Hoboken) 2015 Jun; 298(6):1135-43