Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an immune mediated systemic disease of unknown etiology that is difficult to treat. Dysregulated vascular and immunological events lead to the development of fibrotic processes in the skin and inner organs e.g. the lungs, kidneys or the gastrointestinal tract associated with severe functional impairments. SSc is not only associated with a reduced quality of life but also with a decreased life expectancy. Accordingly, there is a high medical need for new efficient therapeutic options. As the chances to improve late stage fibrotic changes are still rather limited a refinement of diagnostic procedures in early phases of SSc associated vasculopathy is a prerequisite for the development new therapeutic interventions. The research activities aim at the establishment of new predictive biomarkers by serological and fluorescence optical imaging studies in initialen phases of SSC.