Michael Pinkert

Graduate Researcher, Medical Physics


Medical Engineering


(203) 940-2987


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Multiscale imaging of collagen in breast cancer

The tumor microenvironment of the breast plays a critical role in cancer development and progression, but there is an imaging gap when it comes to characterizing metabolism and stromal properties in the cancerous breast. In collaboration with mentor Kevin Eliceiri , Morgridge Medical Engineering and University of Wisconsin-Madison professors Tim Hall , Medical Physics; Patti Keely, Cell and Regenerative Biology; Lonie Salkowski, Radiology; and Walter Block , Biomedical Engineering; I am developing a hardware, procedure, and software framework for comparing images from two common clinical modalities: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound (US), with second harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy.

Prospective imaging for SHG of a monkey cervix (top left), MRI of a mouse with circled mammary glands (right), and high frequency US of a wire phantom (bottom left).

We plan to use these quantitative imaging methods to explore collagen organization as a possible biomarker for cancer invasion and progression. While microscale microscopy techniques can obtain collagen structural information of the tumor microenvironment, they are impractical for common clinical use. We will develop ways to correlate data from high-resolution microscopy techniques to clinical imaging modalities through multiscale, multimodality imaging, with a focus on producing quantitative metrics across scales.