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.

Anette Gjörloff Wingren, Malmö 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).

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

The GlycoImaging video (in Swedish).

Interviews and News

Best Poster Prize to Louise Sternbaeck
PHI's Industrial Doctoral Student Louise Stenbaeck received a prize from Danish Cancer Society  for her poster “Holographic microscopy: Macrophage-uptake of SA-MIPs”.
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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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PHI and Malmö University receives 2.3 million SEK to detect blood-borne cancer cells
GlycoImaging is a collaboration project between PHI, Malmö University and four international research institutions. By combining PHI’s HoloMonitor technology with a new type of cancer probes, more sensitive methods to detect and diagnose cancer at an earlier stage than what is possible today.
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EU grants 2.1 million euro to Phase Holographic Imaging and Malmö University with partners for joint cancer research
The European Commission has appointed Phase Holographic Imaging,Bundesanstalt für Material-forschung und Prüfung (Germany’s federal technology research institute), Malmö, Umeå, Copenhagen and Turku University to develop improved methods for clinically diagnosing cancer.
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Researchers propose PHI’s technology to assess reduction in cancer cell growth
PHI’s HoloMonitor® technology allows cancer researchers to effortlessly monitor the reduction in cancer cell growth in real-time without disturbing or destroying precious patient samples. Unlike cytotoxic cancer drugs, cytostatic drugs do not kill cancer cells. Instead they stop tumor growth by stopping cancer cells from multiplying. As a result cytostatic treatments have fewer side effects than …
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Peer Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters

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

    Read the article
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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 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.

    Read the article
  • 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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  • 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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  • Holography: the Usefulness of Digital Holographic Microscopy for Clinical Diagnostics
    Zahra El-Schich, Sofia Kamlund, Birgit Janicke, Kersti Alm and Anette Gjörloff Wingren
    Holographic Materials and Optical Systems (2017)

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

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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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  • 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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  • Moving into a New Dimension: Tracking Migrating Cells with Digital Holographic Cytometry in 3D
    A. Görloff Wingren
    Cytometry Part A (2018)

    Commentary article discussing the fundamental role of cell movement studies in cancer research. Advantages of the HoloMonitor Cell Tracking and Wound Healing Applications over the transwell migration and invasion assays are highlighted, and includes the possibility to use the cells in experiments for other purposes after completing the imaging. In addition to single cell tracking, the HoloMonitor technology also benefits from the fact that morphology analysis can be performed of each cell. The author concludes that this indeed opens up for almost unlimited possibilities to perform cell morphology analysis using this methodology, since each image is very rich in cellular information.

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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.
    Read the article

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