Joe Sharick

Graduate Researcher



(608) 316-4423


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I am a PhD candidate in the department of Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and a researcher at the Morgridge Institute in the laboratory of Melissa Skala. Currently there are no reliable methods of optimizing treatment regimens for individual cancer patients. Oncologists choose drug treatments based on expression levels of tumor cell signaling receptors and other factors and assess whether the treatment is effective after significant time has passed. The morbidities resulting from suboptimal drug regimens could be eradicated by applying a personalized medicine approach to cancer treatment early on, at the time of diagnosis. Our goal is to develop and validate Optical Metabolic Imaging (OMI) of tumor-derived organoids as an accurate predictor of patient treatment response in multiple cancer types, including breast and pancreatic adenocarcinoma. OMI has the unique ability to measure metabolic drug response in individual cells, which allows for the detection of heterogeneous subpopulations of cells. OMI also allows for high-throughput screening or potential cancer drugs and drug combinations to find the best individual treatment regimen.


M.S. Biomedical Engineering, 2016, Vanderbilt University

B.S.E. Biomedical Engineering, 2013, Duke University

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