Cancer Research


Translational Biophotonics and Imaging Laboratory

 Primary Investigator: Tim Muldoon, M.D., Ph.D.

The Translational Biophotonics and Imaging Laboratory is interested in creating novel technologies based on optical imaging or spectroscopic methods to aid clinicians in the diagnosis, management, or treatment of disease at the point-of-care. Our work is focused on developing new imaging techniques, methods, and devices, validating these technologies, and translating them to a clinical setting.

Optical imaging techniques offer great promise as point-of-care diagnostic tools. These optical tools can be used to probe tissue for early indicators of disease by examining a wide array of metrics, from biochemical and cellular-level changes to analyzing blood flow and perfusion. With the emergence and dissemination of highly sensitive detectors, light sources, imaging sensors and optical components, optical technologies as point-of-care clinical tools have become a potentially transformational field in the area of biomedicine. For more information, please visit the lab website.

Quantitative Tissue Diagnostics Laboratory

Quinn_research_lab_1Primary Investigator: Kyle P. Quinn, Ph.D.

The Quantitative Tissue Diagnostics Lab is a multi-disciplinary research group focused on developing quantitative biomarkers of tissue structure and function to diagnose disease, assess trauma, and guide therapies.  Using imaging modalities such as multiphoton microscopy and fluorescence lifetime imaging, we can non-destructively obtain 3D images from live tissue without adding any stains or dyes.  From these images, our group develops and utilizes quantitative analysis techniques to measure changes in cell metabolism and structural organization.  Our primary research efforts are focused on exploring applications in the field of wound healing, with the end goal of developing non-invasive real-time quantitative readouts to detect impaired healing and guide care.  For more information, please visit us at     

Functional Optical Imaging and Spectroscopy Laboratory

 rajaram_labPrimary Investigator: Narasimhan Rajaram, Ph.D.

Dr. Rajaram’s work is focused on using visible light to investigate the changes in the tumor microenvironment that could identify treatment outcome. Research in the Rajaram lab encompasses basic science investigations of cancer metabolism in cell and animal models using optical microscopy and the development of compact, clinically useful optical technologies that can be used in the clinic for early diagnosis and prediction of response to therapy. For more information, please visit the lab website

Stem Cell Bioengineering Laboratory

stem_labPrimary Investigator: Raj Rao, Ph.D.

The overall goal of the Stem Cell Bioengineering Laboratory is to combine the principles of stem cell biology, biomaterial science, molecular and cell biology and tissue engineering to contribute to better understanding of stem cell properties, development of novel stem cell bioprocessing strategies and enabling technologies towards applications in regenerative medicine. For more information, please visit the lab website

Therapeutic Testbed Engineering Laboratory 

Immunohistochemical image of a rat lung sectionPrimary Investigator: Young Hye Song, Ph.D.

The overall goal of our research program is to develop pro-regenerative scaffolds and in vitro disease models using naturally derived biomaterials and innate cellular capabilities. In disease angle, we are interested in 1) understanding the role of cancer-nerve crosstalk in pro-tumorigenic transformation of the tumor microenvironment and eventually metastasis and 2) determining the specific roles of tumor-derived microvesicles in potentiating these changes. In the regenerative medicine angle, we are primarily interested in harnessing stem cell-derived physicochemical cues in creating pro-regenerative scaffolds that replicate tissue-specific biochemical and topographical features. By performing thorough investigations both in vitro and in vivo, we can utilize these models to gain a better understanding of healthy and diseased/traumatic states, and ultimately develop novel therapeutics to improve patient outcomes. For more information, please visit our lab website.