CIRCL - Cologne Image Reading Center and Laboratory

Das Cologne Image Reading Center and Laboratory (CIRCL) wurde 2008 von Prof. Dr. Sandra Liakopoulos gegründet. Von 2006 bis 2007 absolvierte Prof. Liakopoulos am Doheny Image Reading Center (DIRC) in Los Angeles, unter der Leitung von Dr. SriniVas R. Sadda, einen Forschungsaufenthalt. Sie war verantwortlich für die Auswertung bildgebender Befunde im Rahmen klinischer Studien zur altersbedingten Makuladegeneration und diabetischen Retinopathie.

Das CIRCL bietet qualitative und quantitative Auswertungen von Farbaufnahmen des Augenhintergrundes, Autofluoreszenzaufnahmen, 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, welche die Sicherheit und Effektivität neuer Therapien untersuchen, die Validierung von nicht-invasiven Untersuchungsmethoden zur Diagnostik retinaler Krankheitsbilder sowie die Phänotypisierung für epidemiologische Studien.


The Cologne Image Reading Center and Laboratory (CIRCL) was established in 2008 under the direction of Sandra 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 multimodal imaging including color fundus photography, autofluorescence, 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.

The main focus of the CIRCL is the image analysis for clinical trials demonstrating safety and efficacy of potential new treatments, the validation of non-invasive imaging techniques for ophthalmic diseases, as well as the phenotyping for epidemiological studies.

Prof. Dr. Sandra Liakopoulos

Prof. Dr. Sandra Liakopoulos

Reading Center Medical Director

+49 221 478-7772
+49 221 478-97808

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 Manager
Stefanie Heynck, B. Sc.
Maren Piel

Project Manager
Christina Aust, M.Sc.
Maren Piel
Julia Stas, M.Sc.
Ina Wegner, Dr. rer. nat.

Data Manager
Christina Aust, M.Sc.
Stefanie Heynck, B. Sc.
Judith Pappe, Dipl.-Des.
Maren Piel
Julia Stas, M.Sc.
Ina Wegner, Dr. rer. nat.
Melanie Winnen

Elvira Bjelopera, MD
Mari Bonse
Vivienne Dooling, MD
Anna Lentzsch, MD
Judith Pappe, Dipl.-Des.
Ina Wegner, Dr. rer. nat
Melanie Winnen

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

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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