Marcu, Laura

Laura Marcu, Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California Davis, is visiting the Abbe Center of Photonics as ASP Visiting Professor in April 2016. During her stay she will give four lectures in the area of time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy and imaging for biomedical applications including clinical translation of these techniques.

Marcu_Laura_webProf. Laura Marcu is a full professor at the University of California, Davis in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (College of Engineering). She holds a joint appointment in the Department of the Neurological Surgery (UC Davis School of Medicine). Currently, she serves as Co-Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center Biomedical Technology Program at UC Davis, Domain Leader of the University of California Center for Accelerated Innovation and Chair of the Designated Emphasis in Biophotonics and Bioimaging graduate program. Prior of joining UC Davis in 2006 she served as the Director of the Biophotonics Research Laboratory at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and was a Research Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering-Electrophysics and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California (see also >>here).

Prof. Marcu’s research is in the area of biomedical optics, with a particular focus on research for development of optical techniques for tissue diagnostics. Her laboratory has developed time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy (TRFS) and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) systems for in-vivo tissue interrogation including human patients. Applications of these systems include clinical studies for the characterization and diagnosis of atherosclerotic plaques at high risk, intra-operative delineation of brain tumors, intra-operative diagnosis of head and neck tumors, and imaging in regenerative medicine.  A more recent emphasis in her laboratory is on integration of fluorescence based technologies in multimodal tissue diagnostic platforms (with ultrasound backscatter microscopy and photoacoustic). Many of her studies are conducted in close collaboration with clinical departments (various surgical departments, cardiology, and pathology). Dr. Marcu's laboratory has a broad expertise in clinical translation of biophotonic technologies that play an important role in addressing challenges associate with tissue diagnostics and therapies. Prof. Marcu has more than 150 publications related to the development and application of optical technologies to tissue diagnostics and holds seven US patents. She is also a co-editor of the first textbook in “Fluorescence Lifetime Spectroscopy and Imaging: Principles and Applications in Biomedical Diagnostics" (see also >>here).

Prof. Marcu’s contributions to the broader area of biophotonics and biomedical engineering have been recognized by several awards and honors. She is an elected Fellow of four prestigious professional organizations including the Optical Society (OSA), the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and the American Institute American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE). She was the recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorship (host Imperial College of London, Department of Physics).  She served (2007-2010) as member of the Board of Directors of BMES, the lead society and professional home for biomedical engineering and bioengineering in the United States of America. Currently, she serves as Associate Editor for Biomedical Optics Express and as member of the Editorial Board for Journal of Biophotonics. Over the past decade she has contributed in various key roles to the organization of numerous scientific meetings including SPIE–Photonics West, OSA–Topical Meetings, CLEO, Optics Within Life Sciences (OWLS), Gordon Conference, Engineering Conference International among others.

Lectures at ASP:

Lecture 1. Clinical applications of fluorescence lifetime techniques: Part 1 – Oncology

This lecture will review the applications of time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy (TRFS) and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) to characterization and diagnosis of cancer. Studies carried out in both animal models and human subjects (in-vivo) as well as in excised tissue specimens (ex-vivo) will be presented. This includes results from TRFS and FLIM studies of a) primary brain tumors (low- and high-grade gliomas, meningiomas), b) brain radiation necrosis), c) head and neck tumors evaluated during standard surgical procedure or robotic surgery, and d) breast tumors. Challenges and solutions related to the intraoperative assessment of surgical margins will be discussed.


Tuesday, 12 April 2016, 15:15-16:15,*, 1st talk mainly to doctoral students
Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT), Albert-Einstein-Straße 9, 07745 Jena, Lecture hall

Lecture 2. Time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy and imaging for biomedical applications

This lecture will overview the principles of time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy (TRFS) and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) techniques that utilize label-free fluorescence lifetime contrast to characterize and diagnose biological tissues at mesoscopic level. Fluorescence lifetime measurements provide information about biochemical, functional and structural changes in fluorescent bio-molecular complexes in tissues and cells including structural proteins, enzyme metabolic co-factors, lipid components, and porphyrins. I will present TRFS and FLIM instrumentation developed in our laboratory and describe examples of their application for tissue characterization both in-vitro and in-vivo.  In addition, I will present the development of hybrid tissue a diagnostic platform integrating fluorescence lifetime with high-frequency ultrasound-based imaging techniques such as ultrasound backscatter microscopy and photoacoustics.  These imaging techniques can provide complementary information by visual reconstruction of tissue microanatomy and mapping of optical absorption associated to specific tissue molecular makeup, respectively.

Thursday, 14 April 2016, 15:30-17:00, Overview Talk
Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT), Albert-Einstein-Straße 9, 07745 Jena, Lecture hall

Lecture 3. Clinical applications of fluorescence lifetime techniques: Part 2 – Diagnosis of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases

This lecture will present applications of time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy (TRFS) and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) to characterization and diagnosis of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. This will include a) the adaptation of a scanning multispectral TRFS (ms-TRFS) technique for intravascular assessment of arteries in helical scanning (rotation and pull-back) and b) small-diameter intravascular catheter systems combining intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) with ms-TRFS for assessment of narrow coronary arteries. Studies conducted in human carotid and coronary artery specimens (ex-vivo) and swine model (in-vivo) will be presented. Challenges and solutions associated with intravascular applications of fluorescence lifetime techniques will be discussed.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016, 15:30-16:30,*, 2nd talk mainly to doctoral students
Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT), Albert-Einstein-Straße 9, 07745 Jena, Lecture hall

Lecture 4. Fluorescence lifetime techniques in regenerative medicine   

This lecture will overview the application of time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy (TRFS) and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) to non-destructive characterization of engineered tissue constructs. Studies conducted in cartilage, bone and vascular scaffolds/constructs will be presented.

Thursday, 21 April 2016, 15:30-16:30,*, 3rd talk mainly to doctoral students
Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT), Albert-Einstein-Straße 9, 07745 Jena, Lecture hall

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