The Imaging research theme supports Notre Dame's strengths in optical imaging and spectroscopy and enables projects with a wide range of health-based applications. It also involves ongoing collaboration with the Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility and the Harper Cancer Research Institute.
Some current Imaging projects include:
3D non-destructive optical imaging of patient-derived thrombi
Excessive clotting under disease conditions is deadly; it contributes to coronary heart disease, the number one killer in developed countries, and stroke, the second foremost cause of disability. Though they are three-dimensional, the structures of blood clots (or thrombi, when they form in veins) are currently pieced together from two-dimensional images, which limits the ability of researchers and physicians to see the interior of clots and understand them as a whole. The purpose of this project is to render blood clots optically transparent while maintaining their structure. Such clot transparency allows the scientists and physicians to obtain 3D images of clots that have fluorescently labeled clot components at cellular resolution. (PI: Zartman)
Advanced imaging analysis of competitive cell interactions in cancer progression
This project is aimed at building a new imaging platform with which to study, in real time, both normal and cancer cells in the same culture. The device gives researchers unprecedented spatial and temporal control over the cells and their interactions and may lead to the development of novel treatments that are distinct from traditional chemo- or immunotherapies. (PI: Pinar Zorlutuna)
3D reconstruction of tumor biopsies: an nth-dimensional imaging approach for next generation diagnostics
The overarching aim of this project is to answer fundamental scientific questions required to develop an imaging system that produces information-rich 3D composite reconstructions of tumors and tumor microenvironments. A diagnostic tools such as this unleashes multi-dimensional information from tumor biopsies, dramatically improving the diagnostic power of the standard clinical biopsy and transforming the ability of physicians to understand cancer invasiveness. (PIs: Jeremiah Zartman, Siyuan Zhang, and David Hoelzle)
These are a string of related projects working on the development of non-ionizing THz imaging technologies that enable label-free molecular detection to allow for real-time and unobtrusive identification of DNA, pathogens, or toxins in biological samples, water, or other solutions. (PI: Lei Liu)
Correlated imaging for cancer biology
The goal of this project is to observe and categorize molecular changes that occur when the 3D laboratory tumors are treated with chemotherapy drugs by developing a system that combines information imaging mass spectrometry (IMS), which yields the spatial distributions of diagnostically useful proteins, with confocal Raman (CR) microscopy, which targets how the properties of specific cell components, such as the cell membrane, change in response to therapy. (PIs: Amanda Hummon and Paul Bohn)
For more information on this research, please contact Arnie Phifer, Associate Director, or the listed principal investigators.