UW-Madison and Morgridge researchers associate collagen architecture with glioblastoma patient survival

A new report in the Journal of Neurosurgery, "Association of collagen architecture with glioblastoma patient survival" by University of Wisconsin-Madison investigators Kelli PointerCellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program in the laboratory of John Kuo, Department of Neurological Surgery and Kevin EliceiriLaboratory of Optical and Computational Instrumentation (LOCI) as well as Alex Schroeder, Medical Physics Graduate ProgramLOCI, and the Morgridge Institute for Research shows a correlation between collagen and glioblastoma progression.  The group was the first to visualize collagen architecture in glioblastoma using the Optical Workstation at LOCI: a multiphoton laser scanning system with second harmonic generation (SHG) imaging capabilities.  The group showed that glioblastoma can be visualized by SHG and collagen alignment can be correlated with tumor invasiveness and patient survival.                                                                                                                                                                                              

Glioblastoma histology slide CC-BY-SA-3.0 

Sarah Erickson-Bhatt: Bridge to a breakthrough

When Sarah Erickson-Bhatt lost her mother to breast cancer before she began undergraduate study in 2001, the physics student determined that fighting cancer would become her life’s work.

The question of “how” emerged when she joined the biomedical engineering PhD program at Florida International University. There, she encountered a remarkable technology called optical imaging, which uses harmless near-infrared light to detect and diagnose disease, including breast cancer.

For the past decade, she has been working to perfect this technology and create applications that could save lives.

Today, as a new Morgridge Institute for Research postdoctoral fellow in medical engineering, Erickson-Bhatt is taking her work full-circle. Having devoted great energy to the technical issues of building instruments, she now will expand her knowledge on the biological underpinnings of cancer.

“I wanted to learn more about breast cancer itself and cancer biology,” says Erickson-Bhatt, who joined Morgridge this summer from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “How can we use these technologies to study the fundamental biology, and not just determine whether cancer is there or not?”


Read the story on the Morgridge Institute for Research News . . .

Sarah Erickson-Bhatt

UW researchers pioneer a camera that can see around corners

From The Cap Times Aug 6, 2016 

A team of University of Wisconsin researchers have received a major grant from the Department of Defense to further develop a sophisticated piece of optical technology: A camera that can see around corners.

The idea behind the groundbreaking tech is that light particles from a bright flash can be collected by camera sensors and analyzed to visualize objects hidden from view. Through recent experiments at the UW, researchers have borne out the theory.

The team used a laser to fire a pulse of light at an angle toward a far wall, resulting in some of the light particles reflecting off the surface and bouncing across objects set up around a corner. Those particles eventually bounce all the way back to near the point of origin, where they're collected by a camera.

"The light comes back, like an echo essentially. And based on what that light looks like, you can reconstruct an object using a computer," said the imaging specialist Andreas Velten.

Velten, a researcher with the Computational Optics Group Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation and the Morgridge Research Institute, is largely responsible for pioneering the "scattered-light" imaging system. 

Velten's field specializes in using computer processing to take imaging beyond simple, visual recreations of what a person could otherwise be able to see — in other words, beyond photography in the traditional sense.

"We want to design imaging systems that allow us to capture information that's beyond the human eye," he said.


Read the story in The Cap Times . . .

NIH grant to fund trailblazing ovarian cancer research

With a unique approach that draws on 3D printing technologies, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers is developing new tools for understanding how ovarian cancer develops in women. A $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding the research.

Ovarian cancer is relatively rare; about 1.5 percent of American women will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. But it is difficult to detect in its early stages, which means doctors don’t usually diagnose ovarian cancer until late in the disease’s progression, after it has spread to other parts of the body. This is reflected in the grim outlook for most women with ovarian cancer: the five-year survival rate is about 25 percent.

Led by Paul Campagnola, a professor of biomedical engineering and medical physics at UW-Madison, the team aims to improve that outlook by understanding how ovarian cancer cells interact with nearby body tissue, and by developing new tools for imaging and detecting the disease. With the NIH funding, they’ll first use cutting-edge technologies they’ve developed on the UW-Madison campus to image tissues from surgical patients, with a keen eye on collagen.

“In most cancers, including ovarian, there are large changes in the collagen structure that goes along with the disease,” Campagnola says. “It might be first. It might be later. It’s actually not known.”

It’s one of the unknowns that Campagnola and his colleagues, including Kevin Eliceiri, director of UW-Madison’s Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation (LOCI), and Manish Patankar, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, hope their research illuminates.

Read the story . . .

Madison Science Museum Exhibition: Wisconsin Landscapes in Infrared

Celebrate the opening of the Madison Science Museum newest exhibition, Wisconsin Landscapes in Infrared.  The exhibit features infrared photographs of four Wisconsin’s photographers and honors Robert Wood, the father of infrared photography, who spent the early years of his career in Madison. Opening reception (free and open to public) Thursday, April 14th, 5-7 PM and Saturday, April 16th, noon-2 PM.

Madison Science Museum
Downtown Madison, 211 N Carroll St, 6th floor
(608) 216-5496 • www.madisonsciencemuseum.org