INDIANA – IN-cell DIffusion ANAlysis

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Magnetic Resonance is a non-invasive method for analysing molecules within cells and tissues. Diffusion methods are particularly popular in medical diagnoses, and in proteomics and cellular studies. Despite the significant progress made in that field, the analysis of data for biological systems is particularly challenging due to the heterogeneity of the samples. A number of tailored models exists for the interpretation of the data in both cell systems and living tissues; however, a general model for cell samples still seems to be lacking.

Researchers at the University of Oxford have developed INDIANA (IN-cell DIffusion ANAlysis), an experimental protocol and software package that offer a quick, accurate and general method for the characterisation of properties in a cell suspension. The practical validity of the method and the accuracy of the parameters have been determined and quantified and the model has been experimentally verified. The method can be applied in the analysis of any spectroscopically resolvable molecule, in cell preservation monitoring and in the field of diffusion MRI.

Magnetic resonance diffusion experiments

Magnetic resonance experiments provide a non-invasive and powerful method to analyse molecules within cells and tissues. Diffusion methods are frequently used in MRI measurements to provide medical diagnoses,protein folding characterisation and localisation of
biomolecules in cellular mixtures.

There has been a number of significant advances in the field of diffusion methods for biological systems; nevertheless, the analysis of data in those systems is challenging due to the inherent heterogeneity inside cells and living tissues. A series of tailored models have addressed those challenges in both homogeneous and heterogeneous samples; however, a general method for cellular systems still seems to be required.

IN-cell DIffusion ANAlysis

Researchers at Oxford have tackled this limitation with the development of INDIANA (IN-cell DIffusion ANAlysis), an experimental protocol and software package that offers a quick, accurate and general method for thecharacterisation of the following parameters in a cell

  • Cell density and size
  • Permeability
  • Intrinsic relaxation rates
  • Diffusion coefficients

The region of practical validity and the accuracy of the fitted parameters were determined and,optimised for the study of eukaryotic cells by NMR. Experimental endorsement of the model also proved the utility of the technology.

Applicability of the method includes:

  • Analysis of any molecule that can be spectroscopically resolved – the isotopic enrichment would allow for background-free measurements
  • Monitoring of cell preservation in perfusion systems
  • Diffusion MRI


Oxford University Innovation is currently seeking academic and commercial users for INDIANA. Please see our online software store for more information

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