Here are some research projects that are of interest to our laboratory. We are always looking for highly motivated students with an interest in biomedical optics. These are mostly unfunded projects, but all have the potential to lead to viable proposals for future funding. If you are interested in pursuing thesis research in or close to any of these areas, search our publications for further details, and then send email to arrange a meeting for further discussions.
We are interested in graduate students who can conduct MS or Ph.D. level research programs in these areas. However, we are also interested in undergraduate students who can work on a smaller part of one of these problems, or help current graduate students on existing projects found on our research page. If you see something that looks interesting, contact Chuck or the graduate student listed on the project.
* Lung Imaging with OCT and MicroEIT: Our group has collaborated with Prof. Gouldstone in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, in his imaging of the pleural alveoli using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) through a transparent indenter tip. Our work has focused on predicting and correcting errors introduced by strong refraction at the tissue-air interface. Even with these corrections, OCT is unlikely t become a clinical tool in diagnosis of lung disease because it is limited to the first few layers of alveoli and is thus invasive, and perhaps not representative of the larger lung volume. Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) is capable of penetrating the whole lung, but with resolution too coarse to see individual alveoli. With a better understanding of the EIT images, it could become a very useful clinical tool. A combination of OCT and microEIT could lead to enhanced understanding of EIT at the micro-scale, and make the whole-lung images more useful.
* Imaging of Collagen: This project is a collaboration with Prof. Ruberti in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. Our interest currently is in using second-harmonic generation (SHG) to produce microscopic images in which the alignment of collagen fibrils can be determined. Research involves collecting and processing forward and backward SHG images, potentially exploiting polarization effects, and developing algorithms for determining the orientation from these images.
* Spectroscopy of Melanin Fluorescence: We have discovered a stepwise three-photon-excited fluorescence process in melanin that can be excited with CW laser light. Currently, we are conducting research on imaging the emitted light. We also have a capability to measure the spectrum of the emission, and doing so may provide insights into the fundamental science, as well as the ability to discriminate between different types of melanin in normal and cancerous skin.
*Light and Sound We have developed a 2-D FDTD computational model of the interaction of light and ultrasound. We also have a 3D model that predicts the amplitude of the signal. Currently we are conducting experimental research on new techniques for measuring optical and mechanical properties of soft tissue.
*Structured Illumination We are working on a project to use structured illumination to improve three dimensional sectioning in microscopy. We are currently (Fall 2015) seeking a postdoc with experience in experimental microscopy and strong mathematical skills.