Optical technologies are attractive for diagnosing cancer and for monitoring cancer therapy because these techniques are inexpensive, portable, fast and provide a wealth of information on tissue structure and function. Dr. Skala's lab focuses on the development of optical imaging tools that monitor biological markers such as cellular metabolic rate, molecular expression, blood oxygenation and blood flow. 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.
Where to find us:
Congratulations to Dr. Skala and Alex Walsh for being featured in a story by Voice of America!
Congratulations to Taylor Cannon for being named an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Goldwater Scholarship Competition!
Congratulations to Tiffany Heaster for being selected for a Young Investigator Award at Frontiers in Biomedical Imaging Science V!
Congratulations to Tiffany Heaster for being awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!
Congratulations to Amy Shah for receiving an Officer Travel Grant Award to attend the SPIE chapter student leadership workshop at SPIE Optics + Photonics 2015!
Congratulations to Dr. Skala and Alex Walsh for being featured in an article by Reuters!
Our research was featured in the DoD Breast Cancer Research Program Progress Report and Information Pamphlet. (Page 16)
Congratulations to Alex Walsh for defending her dissertation, "Development Of Optical Imaging Of Metabolism For Monitoring And Predicting Drug Efficacy".
Congratulations to Joe Sharick for receiving a Student Poster Competition Award at SPIE Photonics West for his poster "Monitoring Metabolic Enzyme Activity In Cells with Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging of NAD(P)H".
Congratulations to Alex Walsh for the acceptance of her paper at Journal of Biomedical Optics! AJ Walsh, RS Cook, JH Lee et al.; "Collagen density and alignment in responsive and resistant trastuzumab-treated breast cancer xenografts," J. Biomed. Opt., 20(2), 026004 (2015). doi:10.1117/1.JBO.20.2.026004.
Congratulations to Alex Walsh for the acceptance of her paper at Biomedical Optics Express! Walsh AJ, Skala MC, "Optical metabolic imaging quantifies heterogeneous cell populations," Biomedical Optics Express, (6)2:559-573, 2015.
Congratulations to Taylor Cannon for the acceptance of her paper at Journal of Biomedical Optics! TM Cannon, AT Shah, AJ Walsh, and MC Skala. "High-throughput measurements of the optical redox ratio using a commercial microplate reader." Journal of Biomedical Optics 0001;20(1):010503 (2015).
Congratulations to Amy Shah for receiving an SPIE Travel Scholarship to present at SPIE Photonics West 2015!
Congratulations to Taylor Cannon for receiving an SPIE Travel Scholarship to present at SPIE Photonics West 2015!
Congratulations to Kristin Poole for the acceptance of her paper in Biomaterials! KM Poole, CE Nelson, RV Joshi, JR Martin, MK Gupta, SC Haws, TE Kavanaugh, MC Skala, and CL Duvall. "ROS-Responsive Microspheres for On Demand Antioxidant Therapy in a Model of Diabetic Peripheral Arterial Disease." Biomaterials (2014) accepted.
Congratulations to Kristin Poole for the acceptance of her paper in Biomedical Optics Express! KM Poole, DR McCormack, CA Patil, CL Duvall, and MC Skala. “Quantifying the vascular response to ischemia with speckle variance optical coherence tomography.” Biomedical Optics Express 5, 4118-4130 (2014).
Congratulations to Dr. Skala and Alex Walsh for being featured in Research News @ Vanderbilt in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month!
Congratulations to Amy Shah for receiving an OSA Foundation Student Travel Grant to present at Frontiers in Optics 2014!
Congratulations to Taylor Cannon on winning 2nd place in the 2014 Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program (VUSRP) poster competition!
We are excited to welcome Daniel Gil and Tiffany Heaster to our lab as PhD candidates. Daniel recieved his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from George Washington University and Tiffany received her B.S. in Biological Engineering from Mississippi State University.
Congratulations to Kristin Poole, whose poster was selected for the "Best of Basic Science Abstracts" at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.
Congratulations to Alex Walsh for the acceptance of her paper in Cancer Research! AJ Walsh, RS Cook, ME Sanders, L Aurisicchio, G Ciliberto, CL Arteaga, and MC Skala. "Quantitative optical imaging of primary tumor organoid metabolism predicts drug response in breast cancer," Cancer Research (2014). Sep 15;74(18):5184-5194.
Congratulations to Alex Walsh for a poster award at the Gordon Conference for Lasers in Medicine & Biology, Holderness, NH!
Congratulations to Devin McCormack for successfully completing his Masters degree!
Alex Walsh's entry of: "Illuminating Optics: A hands-on kit for exploring light and color" came in 1st place in the Optical Society of America (OSA) contest for naming the International Year of Light 2015 education outreach kit. Congratulations!
Birthdays: Jason Tucker-Schwartz (6th) and Joe Sharick (26th)
Congratulations to Devin McCormack for the acceptance of his paper at Biomedical Optics Express! DR McCormack, AJ Walsh, WW Sit, CL Arteaga, J Chen, RS Cook, and MC Skala. "In vivo hyperspectral imaging of microvessel response to trastuzumab treatment in breast cancer xenografts," Biomed. Opt. Express 5, 2247-2261 (2014)
Kristin Poole received an SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship. SPIE is an international society advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light. Congratulations Kristin!
Holly Thomas joined the lab as an undergraduate researcher, and Re McClendon has joined as a high school student. Welcome Holly and Re!
Birthdays: Alex Walsh (21st) and Miranda Kunz (22nd)
Congratulations to Jason Tucker-Schwartz for the acceptance of his paper at Biomedical Optics Express! JM Tucker-Schwartz, KR Beavers, WW Sit, AT Shah, CL Duvall, and MC Skala, "In vivo imaging of nanoparticle delivery and tumor microvasculature with multimodal optical coherence tomography," Biomed. Opt. Express 5, 1731-1743 (2014)
Congratulations to Amy Shah for passing her qualifying exam!
Jinjoo Lee and Taylor Cannon have joined the lab as undergratuate researchers. Welcome Jinjoo and Taylor!
Congratulations to Kristin Poole, who was selected to receive a Scholar Award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood! The P.E.O. Scholar Award is a merit-based award for women pursuing a doctoral level degree.
Congratulations to Joe Sharick who was awarded an NSF graduate research fellowship!
Congratulations to Alex Walsh, who was selected to attend the Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates this summer in Germany.
Congratutions to Amy Shah for the accpetance of her paper at PLOS ONE! AT Shah, MD Beckler, AJ Walsh, WP Jones, PR Pohlmann, and MC Skala. “Optical Metabolic Imaging of Treatment Response in Human Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma.” PLOS ONE (2014) accepted.
Birthdays: Devin McCormack (3rd) and Amy Shah (28th)
Birthdays: Constance Lents (29th)
A paper of Will Jones, a high school student who worked in the lab during the summer of 2013, was accepted for publication in Young Scientist. His paper is titled "Effect of Cisplatin, Cetuximab, and BGT226 on SCC25 and SCC61 Squamous Cell Carcinoma Metabolic Rates".
Birthdays: Dr. Melissa Skala (15th) and Maryse Lapierre-Landry (30th)
Congratulations to Jason Tucker-Schwartz whose poster titled "In vivo imaging of gold nanorod pharmacokinetics using photothermal optical coherence tomography" won third place at the 14th Annual Nanoscience/Nanotechnology Forum.
A paper that Alex Walsh collaborated on was accepted at Cancer Research: A Venkateswaran, KR Sekhar, DS Levic, DB Melville, TA Clark, WM Rybski, AJ Walsh, MC Skala, PA Crooks, EW Knapik, and ML Freeman. “The NADH Oxidase ENOX1, a Critical Mediator of Endothelial Cell Radiosensitivity, is Crucial for Vascular Development.” Cancer Research 2013, accepted.
Dr. Melissa Skala and collaborator Dr. Craig Duvall are highlighted in this month's edition of VUSE Solutions.
Congratulations to Jason Tucker-Schwartz whose paper titled "In vivo photothermal optical coherence tomography of gold nanorod contrast agents" was covered as a feature on octnews.org this month.
Dr. Skala's talk, titled "Optical Metabolic Imaging of Drug Efficacy in Cancer" at the 6th Annual Workshop on Advanced TCSPC Techniques at Bethesda, MD went well.
'BME Week' was celebrated during the 21st- 25th of the month to commemorate the 45th year of biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University and the 25th anniversary of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt.
Congratulations to Alex Walsh for her two press releases (one on the American Association for Cancer Research's webpage!) for her recent paper in Cancer Research, titled "Optical Metabolic Imaging Identifies Glycolytic Levels, Subtypes, and Early-Treatment Response in Breast Cancer."
September 2013Birthdays: Megan Madonna (25th)
Jason Tucker-Schwartz’s paper was accepted at SPIE Newsroom: Tucker-Schwartz JM and Skala MC. “Contrast enhancement in optical coherence tomography.” SPIE Newsroom. 2013. (http://spie.org/x91623.xml)