Biomedical optics & imaging

Image of the human brain using imaging technology; brain is green and red against a black background.

Imaging tools to better understand the brain

The Akkin Lab develops non-contact optical imaging tools to study tissue structure and function, with an emphasis on better understanding the brain. Non-invasive or minimally invasive applications in medicine are possible, because the techniques use back-scattered light.

Graph showing oxygen in a tissue. Shows 20% oxygen plus 5mm. Shows color-coded areas on tissues, on a scale from 0 to 150 mg.

Non-invasive imaging for cancer therapy 

The Ashkenazi Lab develops high-resolution imaging devices and techniques that combine laser, fiber optics, and ultrasound technologies. The team developed a unique method for non-invasive imaging of tissue oxygen, and are studying its effect on cancer therapy outcomes.

biomedical image showcasing the mucosal area.

Engineering the immune response

The Hartwell Immunoengineering Lab uses biomolecular engineering, drug delivery, and immunology to develop molecular vaccines and immunotherapies that direct the immune response towards activation or tolerance by targeting specific cells and tissues, with a focus on the mucosal immune system.

Graphic of cell close-ups produced by imaging technology. Compares acceptor vs. donor, showing before and after, with bleach and 10 um. Bar charts comparing mC2Y vs. MCGY using FRET, showing amounts of mito, CFP, VDVAD, GGGG, and YFP -- Oxidative stress of Casp2 cleavage vs. no cleavage with arrow pointing to the right.

Aging and neurodegenerative diseases

Aging is the major risk for neurodegenerative diseases (NDs). Dr Herman and his colleagues have elucidated the role the Caspase-2 plays in neurodegenerative diseases. Current efforts are centered on the regulation of Caspase-2 mediated proteolysis of tau in NDs.

Sketch of electrical stimulation therapy. Spiral structure with two probes connected in a circular way. One probe has arrows pointing to controller which has arrows pointing to the second probe.

Optimizing stimulation therapy algorithms

The NeuralNetoff lab aims to give patients the best outcomes from electrical stimulation, a patient-specific therapy that varies widely in its effectiveness. They’re testing therapies and optimizing algorithms, to help people with conditions like Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and chronic pain.

Rendering of the brain inside the head, taken from above. Shows different parts of the brain.

Technology that tackles brain disorders

Alexander Opitz's lab aims to improve non-invasive brain stimulation technology, which people respond very differently to. The team is identifying individual predictors, to help create a future where there are personalized treatments for brain disorders like depression.

Image at the microscopic level using imaging technology. Vivid reds, purples and blues against a black background.

Bioengineering cancer therapies

Paolo Provenzano’s lab is developing new ways to combat cancer. Approaches include re-engineering tumor microenvironments to remove tumor-promoting cues, enhancing drug delivery, promoting anti-tumor immune responses, and developing next-generation cell-based therapies.

Text says "arrhythmia", with three images. Graph above showing reduction in heart rhythm variation. Colorful VT and VF scans below showing what heart looks like at that time.

Prediction and prevention of cardiac arrhythmias

Alena Talkachova’s group visualizes electrical activity in the heart and small patches of cardiac tissue. They use nonlinear dynamics approaches to predict transition from normal to abnormal cardiac rhythms, and to prevent arrhythmias in the heart. They also develop novel tools to guide mapping-specific ablation in patients with atrial fibrillation.