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BIOLOGY 

Dixit, Ram: Dr. Dixit focuses on understanding on how the microtubule cytoskeleton regulates plant cell shape. His lab uses transgenic plants and follow fluorescently tagged proteins in living cells using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy to study dynamics and function of proteins at the single molecule level. In addition, by combining mutational analysis with live imaging of new two-color marker lines generated in the Dixit lab, they examine the way in which microtubule severing proteins are responsible for pruning unaligned cortical microtubules at crossover sites and how this activity is involved in creating ordered arrays. Collaborators: Herzog, Piston.

Herzog, Erik: Dr. Herzog studies the cellular and molecular basis for circadian rhythms, focusing on the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. By combining electrophysiological and molecular imaging techniques, his lab is identifying pacemaking cells and how these cells coordinate their activities to drive behavior. The lab compares the circadian rhythms expressed behaviorally and by cells and tissues using a variety of techniques including behavioral monitoring and imaging with multielectrode recordings, bioluminescence and fluorescence from animals carrying transgenic reporters. Trainees in the Herzog lab pursue optical and digital imaging of low-light bioluminescence, fluorescence, and bright-field preparations. Dr. Herzog received an Outstanding Mentor Award in 2008. Collaborators: Holy, Culver, Taghert.

BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (BME) 

An, Hongyu: Dr. An has extensive experience in MR and PET/MR imaging and is the associate director of the Center for Clinical Imaging Research (CCIR). Her expertise includes MRI physics, MR sequence design and programming, image reconstruction, image and data analysis, PET/MR attenuation correction, and motion correction. Simultaneously acquired anatomical, physiological and metabolic MR imaging and physiological and molecular PET imaging provide unprecedented diagnostic and prognostic values in many diseases. A specialty of Dr. An’s group has been developing novel MR based PET attenuation methods. An application area is the important MR imaging challenge of quantifying cerebral oxygenation. Collaborators: Ackerman, Hershey, Woodard. 

Chen, Hong:  Dr. Chen’s research is focused on developing image-guided ultrasound drug delivery (IGUDD) techniques. A new assistant professor, Dr. Chen has a joint appointment with Radiation oncology. Her laboratory is setting up two experimental systems: an ultrasound-image-guided focused ultrasound system and an MRI-guided focused ultrasound system. The goal is to translate basic research advances in imaging and ultrasound therapy into image-guided therapy devices that can impact cancer patient care. Collaborators: Anastasio, Hallahan, Parikh. 

Raman, Barani: Dr. Raman’s research focuses on examining the spatio-temporal signals in neural systems to understand the design and computing principles of biological sensory systems using relatively simple invertebrate models (e.g., Drosophila melanogaster). His lab employ’s a variety of multi-dimensional electrophysiological recording techniques and computational modeling approaches to investigate how dynamic odor signals are encoded as neural representations (odor coding). Recent work from Dr. Raman’s lab, published in Nature Communications and Nature Neuroscience, has revealed the behavioral relevance of combinations of neurons activated by an odorant (i.e., ‘the combinatorial code’) and in the temporal structure of the neural activity (i.e., ‘the temporal code’). Collaborators: Gruev, Holy, Petersen. 

CELL BIOLOGY AND PHYSIOLOGY 

Cooper, John: The laboratory uses a variety of light and electron microscopy techniques to address questions of how cells control their shape and movement. Those techniques might include low-light level fluorescence microscopy of living cell preparations, including spinning-disk confocal and total internal reflection microscopy. Collaborators: Bayly, Piston. 

Mecham, Robert: Dr. Mecham studies the extracellular matrix, the critical material that helps bind together and support the structures and tissues of the human body. He is a well-known leader in uncovering the structure of elastic fiber and understanding the complex process involved in producing it. His laboratory focuses on learning how cells produce elastic fibers, a major component of the extracellular matrix. His work includes live-cell imaging of extracellular matrix assembly. Collaborators: Holtzman, Taber 

Piston, David:  The main research focus of the Piston lab is the understanding of glucose-regulated hormone secretion from islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. To perform live cell measurements in situ and in vivo, his lab develops unique, state-of-the-art fluorescence imaging methods to assay responses along critical signaling pathways in both glucagon-secreting α-cells and insulin-secreting β-cells. These quantitative microscopy measurements are combined with standard biochemical and molecular biological techniques to obtain valuable information that bridges the gap between the known details of the signaling pathways in individual cells and the overall response of a whole islet. Experimental work involves 5D live cell imaging and high-content screening. Collaborators: Nichols, Urano, Gross, Lawson. 

CHEMISTRY 

Ackerman, Joseph: Trainees perform research in the development and application of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and imaging (MRI) for study of intact biological systems, from cultured cells to mice to man. A major area of research is the development of MR techniques that will provide a more complete understanding of the complex structure and operating organization of mammalian tissues in the intact, functioning state. Collaborators: Bayly, Culver, Weilbaecher. 

Mirica, Liviu: Dr. Mirica uses inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and biological chemistry to address metal-mediated processes with energy, biological, and medical relevance. One of his projects involves investigation of the interaction of transition metal ions with Aβ peptides and study of the role of metal ions in amyloid plaque and reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in patients with AD — whose plaques exhibit unusually high concentrations of copper, iron, and zinc. He is developing Cu-64 complexes that can be employed for PET imaging and early diagnosis of AD. Collaborators: Rath, Tai. 

COMPUTER SCIENCE 

Gruev, Victor:  Dr. Gruev’s research focuses on borrowing key concepts from nature to develop ultra-sensitive, compact, lightweight and conformal imaging sensors capable of recording spectral and polarization properties with high spatial resolution and to bring these new sensory devices to clinical settings. Gruev’s lab has been able to successfully mimic both the optics and underlying neural circuitry from the visual system of both Morpho butterflies and mantis shrimp by using various nanomaterials and nanofabrication techniques and monolithically integrate them with circuits fabricated with advanced CMOS technologies. The compact realization of these bio-inspired spectral-polarization imaging sensors combined with wearable goggle devices and real-time image processing implemented on FPGA platform, were recently used to translate this technology into the operating room to provide instant visual feedback to physicians. Collaborators: Achilefu, Culver, Raman. 

Pless, Robert:  Dr. Pless works on developing tools for the fundamental mathematical modeling and analysis of motion in video sequences. He co-founded the Media and Machines Laboratory, which now includes five full time faculty and is a focal point for research on Computer Vision, Robotics, Graphics, Medical Imaging and Human Computer Interaction. Driven by biological imaging applications, the primary mathematical tools are data-driven, non-parametric statistical models that represent scene-specific or patient-specific models of common motions and behaviors. These models are ignore distracting motions (e.g., breathing artifacts in CT). Collaborators: Bayly, Leuthardt, Miller, O’Sullivan, Taber. 

Ju, Tau:  Dr. Tau’ works on computer graphics and image analysis with application to biological imaging. His early works pioneered the cage-based deformation paradigm which is now widely used in both entertainment industry and academics. In collaboration with a group of image processing specialists and neuroscientists, his lab used geometric atlases to map the gene expression patterns in the mouse brain. While the prototype of the mapped database (see www.geneatlas.org) was initially done in 2D, his lab recently completed a 3D version (hosted on the same website) with the support of an NSF grant. His lab also is working on theoretical foundations and practical algorithms to quantify how “tubular” or “plate-like” an object (or one of its part) is. This work is mostly motivated by the analysis of biological structures in biomedical images with applications to optical and electron microscopy. Collaborators: Dacey, Zipfel, Prior. 

ELECTRICAL AND SYSTEMS ENGINEERING (ESE) 

Lew, Mathew:  Dr. Lew, a new faculty recruit, is interested in developing imaging platforms for visualizing biomolecules in living organisms across length scales, from subcellular to whole subjects. He trained in the lab of W.E. Morner (Noble prize 2014). His work primarily focuses on super-resolution microscopy. For example he developed method simultaneous accurate measurement of the 3D position and 2D orientation of single molecules and solutions for mitigating localization errors through modified labeling or optical strategies. On the applications side, he works on labeling and imaging internal cellular structures and external cell surfaces, in 3D, with resolution beyond the diffraction limit. These techniques will enabled the mapping of protein locations and interactions in studies of developmental cell biology. Collaborator: Achilefu. 

Nehorai, AryeDr. Nehorai’s research deals with analysis of space-time data in a number of biomedical areas. In biomedicine, he is developing methods for locating electrical sources in the brain using arrays of electrodes (EEG) or magnetometers (MEG) placed around the head. His solutions are important for clinical applications such as finding origins of seizures, or in neuroscience for mapping the brain functions. He is also developing procedures that find the stiffness of the heart wall using MRI. In microscopy imaging, he is working on algorithms to quantify targets (e.g., antigens, proteins etc.) from 3D microarray-based images, and quantum-dot (q-dot) barcoded microparticle ensembles. Collaborators: Achilefu, Garbow, Song. 

O’Sullivan, Jody:  Dr. O'Sullivan was the director of the Electronic Systems and Signals Research Laboratory (ESSRL) from 1998-2007, and is now dean of the new joint engineering program between University of Missouri-St. Louis and WU. He conducts research in a wide range of science and technology for security applications, including borders, target and object recognition theory, information hiding for secure and clandestine communication, and spectral analysis for biochemical agent detection. Current imaging research includes spiral CT imaging in the presence high-density attenuators and microPET. Collaborators: Tai, Culver. 

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING 

Bayly, Phillip:  Dr. Bayly, Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering, uses MRI to study deformation and to infer mechanical properties of soft tissue, particularly in the brain and spinal cord. The changes in shape and mechanical properties are important both in rapid events such as brain trauma, and very slow events, such as brain morphogenesis. His students employ MR tagging and analysis of tagged images to study the deformation of the brain during linear angular acceleration of the skull. Dr. Bayly collaborates with other researchers who use MRI measurement of water diffusion to characterize the effects of trauma on the brain and spinal cord, in vivo, in animal models. Collaborators: Ackerman, Carlsson, Cooper, Garbow, Pham. 

Lake, Spence:   Dr. Lake’s research focuses on multiscale structure-function relationships of musculoskeletal soft tissues and joints. He uses various imaging techniques (e.g., quantitative polarized light imaging, two-photo microscopy, x-ray microscopy) to quantify structural organization of tissues at various length scales and correlate with region-specific compositional and mechanical properties. His work seeks to understand fundamental principles that govern how soft tissues function in healthy conditions, how these relationships change in injury/disease, and how connective tissue damage can be better prevented, treated, or replaced.

MEDICINE 

Weilbaecher, Katherine:  Dr. Weilbaecher’s laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms of tumor metastasis to bone. They utilize luciferase/GFP labeled osteolytic cancer cell lines and evaluate tumor metastasis and bone tumor growth using in vivo bioluminescence in genetically targeted osteoclast and platelet defective mice. They also utilize MRI and PET imaging to evaluate bone tumor growth and metastasis in spontaneous metastasis tumor mouse models. Trainees gain experience in metastasis biology and host cell/tumor cell interactions using an array of in vivo imaging techniques, including PET, bioluminescence and MRI. Collaborators: Achilefu, Ackerman, Garbow, Lanza. 

NEUROLOGY 

Petersen, Steven:  Dr. Peterson pioneered the use of brain imaging (PET and fMRI) to identify brain regions that contribute to attention, learning, memory and language. He also investigates the effects of disease and brain damage on these cognitive processes. Currently, he has two main areas of interest. The first focus is the development of neural mechanisms underlying cognition. Methods have been developed that allow direct statistical comparison of child and adult imaging data. The second focus is identifying and characterizing fMRI signals related to task organization and executive control. Recently his lab developed a series of seminal papers on functional connectivity mapping with MRI related to the management of motion artifacts, the applications of graph theory and the mapping of network hubs. Collaborators: Barch, Culver, Hershey, Raman. 

NEUROSCIENCE

Holy, Timothy:  Dr. Holy’s research in imaging focuses on developing new optical methods for imaging neuronal activity. He has devised a new method, called objective-couple planar illumination microscopy, for imaging neuronal activity simultaneously in large neuronal populations. This approach uses a sheet of light to provide three-dimensional resolution without point-scanning. The principal advantage of this technique is that hundreds or thousands of neurons can be imaged at high speed and high signal-to-noise ratio. Current work on this technology includes optical and algorithmic methods for enhancing resolution deeper into tissue. Collaborators: Herzog, Raman, Taghert. 

Taghert, Pau:  Dr. Taghert’s research focuses on (i) how peptidergic neurons differentiate and (ii) how neural circuits are controlled by the circadian clock to generate rhythmic behaviors. Both areas of study rely heavily on imaging methods, including standard epifluorescent and confocal microscopy, low light level imaging methods, and use of bioluminesent reporters to interrogate pacemaker neuron function and peptidergic cell secretion mechanisms. Collaborators: Hanson, Herzog, Holy. 

PSYCHOLOGY and BRAIN SCIENCES 

Barch, Deanna:  Dr. Barch’s research program is focused on developing and using a variety of neuroimaging techniques to understand the developmental interplay among cognition, emotion, and brain function to better understand the deficits in behavior and cognition found in illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression and substance abuse. She has a long history of mentoring graduate, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty in psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience who have gone on to productive research careers. She was the Director of Graduate Studies in Psychology 2004 to 2014 (now Chair of Psychology) and is a co-Investigator on the Human Connectome Project. Cofounder of our Cognitive, Computational and Systems Neuroscience integrative training pathway, Dr. Barch and has been actively involved in training students in cross-disciplinary neuroimaging research. Collaborators: Petersen, Hershey. 

PSYCHIATRY 

Hershey, TamaraDr. Hershey’s research is in the fields of neuroimaging and cognitive and clinical neuroscience. Her lab uses a range of neuroimaging, pharmacological and cognitive techniques to understand the impact of metabolic and neurodegenerative conditions on the brain, particularly during development. For example, her lab explores the neural underpinnings of cognitive and mood dysfunction in disorders relevant to dopamine and the basal ganglia (e.g., Parkinson disease, Tourette syndrome), the effects of diabetes and obesity on the brain, particularly within development, and the neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative impact of a rare monogenic diabetes. Dr. Hershey is deputy lab chief of the WUSM Neuroimaging Labs, and has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty and co-directs a WU Peer Mentoring Program. Collaborators: Barch, Culver, Raichle. 

RADIATION ONCOLOGY

Zhang, Tiezhi:  Dr. Zhang’s primary research interests include the development of multi-pixel x-ray source, tetrahedron x-ray imaging systems based on scanning x-ray sources. Almost all modern x-ray imaging systems including x-ray radiography, fluoroscopy, mammography and cone beam CT, to name only a few, utilize a single x-ray source and a 2D detector to acquire 2D images. Dr. Zhang’s lab develops new linear scan x-ray sources and tetrahedron beam imaging systems that can overcome the problems in traditional x-ray imaging, including excessive x-ray scattering, suboptimal detector performance and limited detector dimension. The novel imaging system may find important uses in many medical procedures such as image guided radiotherapy (IGRT), image guided intervention, and office-based point-of-care diagnostic imaging. Besides x-ray imaging, Dr. Zhang’s lab also develops novel technologies for precise radiation (x-ray and proton) treatment of cancers.

​RADIOLOGY 

Achilefu, Samuel:  Dr. Achilefu is interested in molecular optical imaging, the design and development of new molecular probes and nanomaterials, specific delivery of imaging agents and drugs to target cells or tissues, development of tissue-specific multi-modal imaging molecules, and tumor-specific photodynamic therapy agents. He is co-leader of the oncologic imaging program for the NCI-designated Siteman Cancer Center, and Director of WU molecular imaging center. His Optical Radiology Lab provides a multidisciplinary environment for students in a variety of disciplines, including the chemistry, physics, and biology of optical imaging of diseases. The lab is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments to train the student in all aspects of optical imaging, depending on the expressed interest level of the student. Collaborators: Culver, Gruev, Lew, Shokeen, Weilbaecher, Woodard. 

Benzinger, Tammie:  Dr. Benzinger`s research focuses on translating advanced neuromagnetic resonance imaging techniques from small animal research in the Department of Radiology, to translational research in the Center for Clinical Imaging Research (CCIR), and into clinical practice. In particular, her current research focuses on using directional diffusivity measurements derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to measure axonal and myelin damage in pediatric and adult demyelination, dysmyelinating diseases, in traumatic brain injury (TBI), and as a function of aging. Diseases under study in Dr. Benzinger`s laboratory include multiple sclerosis (MS), acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), adrenoleukodystrophy, Krabbe`s disease, Pelizaeus-Merzbacher`s disease, and head trauma. In addition, Dr. Benzinger combines advanced neuromagnetic resonance techniques, such as DTI and spectroscopy, and positron emission tomography (PET) to study interactions between normal aging, Alzherimer`s disease, depression, and delirium in older adults.  Collaborators: Achilefu, Ackerman, Hershey, Culver, Woodard

Culver, Joseph:  Dr. Culver’s Lab develops neurophotonic technology for mapping brain function in humans and animal models. With the goal of producing high-performance portable brain imaging in humans, his group has been developing a series of innovations for diffuse optical tomography (DOT) instrumentation and algorithms. Recently they presented the first DOT system capable of mapping distributed brain function and networks (Nature Photonics). Applied projects include mapping brain function in infants in the neonatal ICU, and in stroke patients in the Adult ICU. In parallel with human imaging efforts, the Culver lab is also developing mouse equivalent measurements of functional connectivity using optical intrinsic signal imaging (fcOIS) - so as to link human fcMRI with mouse models of disease (e.g., amyloid-beta models of Alzheimer’s, stroke, brain tumors, autism). Recently, to work with faster physiological signals, they have extend fcOIS to mice with genetically encoded calcium indicators and are exploring transitions between awake/sleep and anesthesia. Collaborators: Achilefu, Ackerman, Anastasio, Bruchas, Hershey, O’Sullivan, Petersen, Shokeen. 

Eggebrecht, Adam:  Dr. Eggebrecht’s lab is focused on developing new hardware and software tools for mapping human brain function beyond the reach of current technology. Current projects include optimizing and applying high density diffuse optical tomography (HD-DOT) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to understand how brain function underlies behavior during early childhood development and how it is altered in children with autism spectrum disorder. Additional projects include optimizing HD-DOT for bedside neuromonitoring applications in infants in acute care settings. The Eggebrecht lab also develops computational software suites for modeling, data registration, and analysis of next generation HD-DOT systems. Collaborators: Constantino, Culver, Hershey, Marrus, Said, Smyser.

Shokeen, Monica:  Dr. Shokeen’s lab has expertise in the development and evaluation of molecularly targeted small molecule and multi-functional macromolecular bio-conjugates for nuclear and optical imaging of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Her group aspires to utilize the translational capabilities of quantitative imaging modalities (PET, SPECT, FMT and MRI) to bring the bench side discoveries into patient care. Working on the chemistry of imaging, the Shokeen lab has been evaluating high-affinity 64Cu labeled-Very Late Antigen-4 (VLA-4) targeted PET radiopharmaceuticals to assess disease progression and response to treatment in pre-clinical mouse and human models of multiple myeloma by quantitative receptor measurements. The ultimate goal of these studies is successful clinical translation. Her group is also investigating the unique metabolic pathways and metabolite fate tracking in multiple myeloma tissues by using 13C edited 1H NMR and 11C-Acetate/PET-CT imaging. Additionally, as part of a multi-PI team, the Schokeen lab is developing a high-throughput optical in vivo imaging platform for the detection of unstable plaque in carotid arteries using a novel custom built Fluorescence Molecular Tomography (FMT) system. Collaborators: Woodard, Achilefu, Culver. 

Tai, Yuan-Chuan:  Dr. Tai’s team conceived and demonstrated the feasibility of the virtual-pinhole PET insert technology for improving the image resolution of existing human and animal PET scanners. This technology is currently being evaluated for whole-body cancer staging to improve the sensitivity of metastatic cancer detection. Additionally, Tai’s lab has developed several high resolution PET and multimodality imaging systems for preclinical, clinical, and functional plant imaging applications. The plant PET imager is now used routinely for molecular plant imaging research and has brought the in vivo imaging technology to plant scientists and triggered new interdisciplinary researches across multiple universities and institutions. Collaborators: O’Sullivan, Laforest. 

Woodard, Pamela:  Dr. Woodard’s expertise is in translational imaging and clinical trials, particularly in cardiovascular MRI, CT and PET. She is Radiology’s Vice Chair of Clinical Translational Research, has an appointment in Biomedical Engineering and is the Director of the Center for Clinical Imaging Research (CCIR). She has been principal investigator (PI) or co-investigator on numerous NIH grants and subcontracts, including the PIOPED II and III Trials. Most recently, her lab has developed a receptor-targeted nanoparticle PET imaging agent for assessment of atherosclerosis, brought it through preclinical safety testing, applied for and received an FDA eIND for testing in human subjects, and have begun testing in normal volunteers and patients. New extensions of the same receptor targeted nanoparticle include optical labelling for imaging with fluorescence molecular tomography. Collaborators: Shokeen, Achilefu, Culver. 

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Created at 6/7/2012 3:00 PM by Leslie Skaggs
Last modified at 8/27/2021 1:00 PM by Leslie Skaggs