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Skala, Melissa
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Information

My lab is interested in the development of optical imaging, optical spectroscopy and nanotechnology for cancer diagnosis and therapy.

Optical technologies are attractive for diagnosing cancer and for monitoring cancer therapy because these techniques are low cost, portable, fast and provide a wealth of information on tissue structure and function.   My research focuses on the development of optical imaging tools that monitor biological markers such as cellular metabolic rate, molecular expression, blood oxygenation and blood flow in vivo.  These tools are applied to pre-clinical models for the design and development of effective therapeutic strategies, and in clinical studies to provide early detection and individualized treatment to cancer patients.  Specific technologies under development include optical coherence tomography to monitor blood flow and microvessel morphology, multiphoton and fluorescence lifetime microscopy to image cellular metabolism, photothermal microscopy with nanoparticle contrast agents for molecular imaging, and optical spectroscopy to quantify tissue blood content and oxygenation.

Projects in the lab include optical design and development, basic cancer research and nanotechnology, and thus candidates with an interest in multidisciplinary research are encouraged to apply.

Graduate student and postdoctoral openings are available, and if interested, please contact Dr. Skala. Please attach a curriculum vita, a brief description of research interests and a list of three references to all inquiries.

Selected Publications

Longitudinal optical imaging of tumor metabolism and hemodynamics
. Skala, MC; Fontanella, A; Lan, L; Izatt, JA; Dewhirst, MW, JOURNAL OF BIOMEDICAL OPTICS, 15, 011112 , (2010)

Combined hyperspectral and spectral domain optical coherence tomography microscope for noninvasive hemodynamic imaging
. Skala, MC; Fontanella, A; Hendargo, H; Dewhirst, MW; Izatt, JA, OPTICS LETTERS, 34, 289-291 , (2009)

Photothermal optical coherence tomography of epidermal growth factor receptor in live cells using immunotargeted gold nanospheres. Skala, MC; Crow, MJ; Wax, A; Izatt, JA, NANO LETTERS, 8, 3461-3467 , (2008)

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Vanderbilt University