My lab uses photonics-based technologies to develop personalized treatment plans for cancer patients (including breast, pancreatic, colorectal, neuroendocrine, oral, and other cancers). We work closely with oncologists to collect fresh patient biopsies that are maintained in 3D culture (tumor organoids), which are used to screen response to multiple treatment options for each patient. Studies across cell and animal systems are focused on tumor immunology and immunotherapy, cell-level metabolic heterogeneity, and cell-cell interactions. Collaborative projects leverage our unique imaging technologies for clinical problems including quality control in T cell and stem-cell therapies, monitoring diseases in the eye, and predicting pre-term birth, among many others. Projects are highly diverse and range from translational research to biologically-driven questions to algorithm / instrumentation development.

Principal Investigator Melissa Skala

Melissa Skala received her BS in Physics at Washington State University in 2002, her M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2004, and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University in 2007. Her postdoctoral training was also in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University, from 2007-2010. From 2010-2016, she was an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University. Since 2016 she has been an Investigator at the Morgridge Institute for Research, and an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

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