Programme: COP 2014-2020
ACTION 1.1.4 Attracting high-level personnel from abroad to enhance the RD capacity.
Project Type: Attracting high-level personnel from abroad.
Project identification number: P37_245. Contract number: 23/01.09.2016, MySMIS code: 104004.

Project co-financed from the European Regional Development Fund through the Competitiveness Operational Programme (COP) 2014-2020.

Principal investigator: Dr. Zoltán Bálint

Total value: 8.554.261,25 RON, of which financial assistance grant: 8.469.565,25 RON.

Implementation period: 01.09.2016 – 31.08.2020

Implementation locations: IMOGEN Medical Research Institute, Pasteur Street, Cluj-Napoca, Romania; and the Emergency Clinical County Hospital from Cluj-Napoca, 3-5 Clinicilor Street, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Contact: Assistant manager – Dr. Cristiana Ciortea, Tel. +40 264 597 852, e-mail:

General objective of the project:
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common human arrhythmia, associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Histopathological studies of persistent AF have reported extracellular matrix remodelling with fibrotic infiltration which may cause atrial dilation. The degree of fibrosis might have a significant impact on wave propagation during AF.

The main objective of the present project is to develop an imaging-based tool to determine the origin and cause of persistent AF. The expected result of this project is a diagnostic method to aid the medical work-up of patients suffering from AF.

Primary objectives and expected results:

• Identification of the cause of persistent atrial fibrillation using correlation analysis of the imaging-derived parameters with the patient clinical data.

Expected result: Database and diagnostically relevant parameters aiding the diagnostic work-up.
• Development of an imaging- based method for anomaly localization and quantification in the fibrillating heart.

Expected result: Software for fibrosis quantification developed on the imaging data of the investigated patients.
• Investigation of the conductance of the affected heart to identify the contribution of the fibrotic region to the problems in wave propagation.

Expected result: Local physical properties of the fibrillating heart examined with functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on AF patients and healthy volunteers.
• Development of superparamagnetic MRI contrast agents using a core/shell design, with enhanced biocompatibility and low toxicity.

Expected result: Nanoparticle-based contrast agents for MRI investigations.