Research

Our group works on a broad range of research activities to develop optical systems for the characterization of molecular, biochemical and structural properties of cancer. We develop and use stochastic modeling techniques to describe the basic physics of light propagation in turbid media such as tissue. Understanding light propagation in tissue is essential for designing optical systems and algorithms for tissue spectroscopy and imaging. Our group also engineers optical systems including specialized fiber-optic probes for in vivo use. Additionally, we actively pursue the development of mathematical algorithms for feature extraction and classification of the optical signals. We validate the effectiveness of our technologies through optical microscopy studies of cell and tissue culture models, small animal imaging and in actual clinical trials. The latter studies are done collaboratively with investigators in the biological and clinical sciences. Our research is currently funded by the NCI, NIBIB and DOD.

Current Projects

Wide field spectral imaging captures differences in positive and negative margin morphology

High-resolution (microscopic) images of proflavine fluorescence from sarcoma tumor margins and corresponding histopathology of the different anatomical constituents.

Absorption spectra of normal tissue and pre-cancerous tissues (CIN 1, CIN 2+) measured from the human cervix. The absorption spectra and hence, the total hemoglobin content is significantly increased in CIN 2+ and this is consistent with increased micro vessel density in this tissue (see images).

Auto fluorescence and NBDG labeled fluorescence of normal and cancerous breast cells. NBDG fluorescence shows increased contrast in cancer cells owing to their increased glycolytic behavior. Corresponding Wesern blots show increased GLUT 1 expression in the cancer cells.