Cologne Image Reading Center (CIRCL)

Das CIRCL Reading Center wurde 2008 von Prof. Dr. Sandra Liakopoulos gegründet. Von 2006 bis 2007 wurde Prof. Liakopoulos am Doheny Image Reading Center (DIRC) in Los Angeles ausgebildet. Dort war sie verantwortlich für die Auswertung bildgebender Befunde im Rahmen klinischer Studien zur altersbedingten Makuladegeneration und diabetischen Retinopathie.

Das CIRCL bietet qualitative und quantitative Auswertung von Farbaufnahmen des Augenhintergrundes, Fluoreszenz-Angiographien, OCT-Angiographien und Spectral Domain OCT Scans im Rahmen klinischer Studien. Alle Bilder werden von zertifizierten Reading Center Gradern nach dem Standard Grading Protokoll des CIRCL befundet.

Zu den Schwerpunkten des Reading Centers gehören die Analysen von bildgebenden Befunden als Endpunkte für pharmazeutische und nicht-pharmazeutische klinische Studien, die die Sicherheit und Effektivität neuer Therapien untersuchen, die Validierung von nicht-invasiven Untersuchungsmethoden und die Behandlung von retinalen Krankheitsbildern, sowie die Phänotypisierung für epidemiologische Studien.


The Cologne Image Reading Center and Laboratory (CIRCL) was established in 2008 under the direction of Professor Liakopoulos, MD. From 2006 till 2007, Prof. Liakopoulos was trained in image analysis at the Doheny Image Reading Center (DIRC) in Los Angeles under the direction of SriniVas R. Sadda, MD, and served as a senior grader for the DIRC.

The CIRCL provides analysis of images of color fundus photography, fluorescein angiography, optical coherence tomography (OCT) and OCT angiography in support of clinical research studies, with a focus on age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. All images are graded according to the standard grading protocol of the CIRCL. Additional features or specific grading considerations may be defined in study specific grading protocols.

The focal points of CIRCL Reading Center are analyses of images referring to endpoints of clinical and non-clinical trials, which demonstrate the safety and efficacy of potential new treatments. Furthermore, the validation of non-invasive imaging techniques and management of ophthalmic diseases, as well as the phenotyping for epidemiological studies.

Adresse / Address

CIRCL – Cologne Image Reading Center and Laboratory
Center for Ophthalmology
University Hospital of Cologne
Kerpener Str. 62
50937 Cologne


Medical Director
Sandra Liakopoulos, MD

Quality Assurance Responsible
Maren Piel

Project Manager
Aileen Berghold, M.Sc.
Maren Piel
Ina Hammels, Dr. rer. nat.

Data Manager
Aileen Berghold, M.Sc.
Judith Pappe, Dipl.-Des.
Maren Piel
Melanie Winnen
Christian Pape, B.Sc.
Ina Wegner, Dr. rer. nat.
Stefanie Heynck, B.Sc.

Aileen Berghold, M.Sc.
Anna Lentzsch, MD
Johannes Meuer, B.Sc.
Christian Pape, B.Sc.
Judith Pappe, Dipl.-Des.
Melanie Winnen
Ina Wegner, Dr. rer. nat.
Mari Bonse

IT Support
IT Department of the University of Cologne, ISO 27001 certified
Herbert Kühner, Dr. rer. nat.

Collaborations with other Reading Centers
Doheny Image Reading Center (DIRC) Los Angeles
GRADE Reading Center Bonn (ORCA Studie)
M3 Reading Center Münster (ORCA Studie)
Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (European Genetic Database - EUGENDA)

Quality Policy

CIRCL is committed to provide services of the highest possible standards to satisfy our customer needs and expectations of quality, safety, reliability and service. Fully satisfying of our customers’ requirements is ensured by continuous improvement of our processes and systems as well as the personal training and education.
We do not allow quality to take second place behind cost or schedule. At CIRCL we foster an open, constructive work environment encouraging our staff to recognize any inconsistency as opportunity to improve our process efficiency. Therefore, all employees are invited to report every mistake they might become aware of.

Quality Objectives

We accomplish quality objectives by establishing, implementing and maintaining a documented effective Quality Assurance System which complies with the requirements of Good Clinical Practice. The attainment of such objectives will lead to customer satisfaction and ongoing improvements in process efficiency. To reach our objectives, we maintain a constant focus on quality with full dedication and teamwork.

We achieve this by

  • Open communication within our team
  • Continuous training of CIRCL staff
  • Continuous improvement of processes and systems
  • Development and establishment of SOPs
  • Adherence to procedures, protocols and regulations
  • Training of clinical sites, including photographer instruction
  • Use of standardized data collection forms
  • Quality control review of data reports prior to release
  • Two-grader system according to international standards
  • CIRCL Principal Investigator review of cases in the grading workflow
  • Review and renew this Quality Policy on a regular basis

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