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Deep Tissue Molecular Imaging in Complex Biological Systems

Event Date: April 21, 2014
Speaker: Dr. Meng Cui
Speaker Affiliation: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Campus
Sponsor: Possible primary appointment in ECE
Time: 10:30am
Location: MSEE 239


Molecular engineering and imaging are expanding the capabilities of mankind to control and analyze complex biological systems. Recent advances have enabled breakthroughs in many biomedical research fields. Equally important is the continuous progress of in vivo molecular imaging technology, as one can gain insight into these complex biological systems only by controlling and observing them in their native environment. Among all the non-invasive imaging tools, optical imaging holds a unique advantage as it can acquire molecular information at unparalleled spatial and temporal resolutions. The major drawback of optical measurements is the limited imaging depth in biological tissues. The focus of my research is to develop new technologies that enable optical imaging and sensing at unprecedented depth, speed, sensitivity, resolution and to combine them with the powerful molecular probes to solve critical problems in biomedical research.

In this talk, I will present three of our recently developed technologies. The first is the Iterative Multi-Photon Adaptive Compensation Technique (IMPACT) that can accurately measure and compensate the optical wavefront distortion in thick tissues. With IMPACT, one can improve the two-photon fluorescence microscopy signal by one to two orders of magnitude. The second is the ultrasound pulse guided digital optical phase conjugation that combines the deep imaging capability of ultrasound and the molecular information provided by optical excitation. Using this hybrid approach, we demonstrated fluorescence imaging beyond optical ballistic regime for the first time. The third technology is to pursue the extreme imaging speed in multi-photon microscopy. We achieved a microsecond time scale axial scanning with an ultrasound lens and demonstrated high speed volumetric imaging. I will discuss the latest in vivo imaging results in mouse brain and lymph node.

Short Bio: Dr. Meng Cui is a lab head at HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus. Meng received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan, where his research interest was light‐matter interaction and nonlinear optical microscopy. During his postdoc research at Caltech, he became interested in controlling optical wave propagation in random scattering media. His current research is to advance the frontier of optical molecular imaging and sensing to provide unprecedented detection depth, quality, sensitivity, and speed for a broad range of applications in biology and medicine.