Megan Michie

MSTP in PhD Training

Program: Biochemistry Biophysics and Structural Biology

Current advisor: Samuel Achilefu, PhD

Undergraduate university: Colby College, 2015

Enrollment year: 2017

Research summary
Targeted optical probe development for simultaneous cancer and microenvironment tumor imaging

My research in Dr. Samuel Achilefu’s lab centers on developing optical probes for cancer imaging. My current project focuses on developing agents for simultaneous molecular imaging of both cancer cells and the microenvironment. This approach seeks to improve upon compartmentalized stromal and malignant cell imaging strategies to enable more complete tumor detection and to provide insight into dynamic changes in the microenvironment. While individualized therapeutic approaches in breast cancer hold great promise to improve quality of life, optimal treatment planning relies on a complete picture of disease state and recurrence risk including identifying microscopic regions of residual disease and understanding a tumor’s molecular traits. As such, the goal of this dual targeted optical molecular imaging approach is to provide the foundation for a clinically useful means to non-invasively monitor treatment response and help guide personalized breast cancer therapy. Utilizing both fluorescence intensity and lifetime imaging modalities to visualize our dual targeted probes will enable signal amplification and assessment of tumor composition in an innocuous manner with great potential for rapid clinical translation.

Graduate publications
Michie MS, Xu B, Sudlow G, Springer LE, Pham CTN, Achilefu S. 2022 Side-chain modification of collagen-targeting peptide prevents dye aggregation for improved molecular imaging of arthritic joints. J Photochem Photobiol A Chem, 424():113624. PMCID: