Translational Biophotonics Cluster

We are a member of the larger Translational Biophotonics Cluster at Northeastern University, a group dedicated to advancing the latest in medical imaging technologies into the clinic.

External Collaborators

Tayyaba Hasan, PhD

Tayyaba is a Professor of Dermatology at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a Professor of Health Sciences and Technology (Harvard-MIT). She was the founding Director of the Office for Research Career Development at Massachusetts General Hospital until 2011.

Tayyaba is a leader of photomedicine research and development, and she has translated new therapies to the clinic. She is an inventor of Visudyne, which has benefited hundreds of thousands of patients around the world suffering from macular degeneration. The Hasan Lab is developing targeted and optically active nanomedicine for cancer in preclinical models while her team also is performing cutting-edge clinical trials using Visudyne-PDT to treat otherwise refractory tumors in patients.

We are developing new approaches to image-guided photomedicine and nanomedicine in collaboration with the Hasan Lab.

Frank W. Wise, PhD

Frank is the Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Engineering Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University. From 2007 to 2011 he served as Director of the School of Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University.

Frank is a leader in inventing new ultrafast laser technologies through understanding the physics of ultrashort light pulse generation in optical fiber. The Wise Research Group continues to innovate new approaches for generating stable femtosecond pulses of light in single mode and multimode fiber suitable for multiphoton microscopy and endoscopy applications. These innovations are based on the groups efforts to investigate and model the complexity of nonlinear wave propagation in fiber. This research has lead to new insights and practical, low-cost femtosecond fiber lasers that achieve mode-locked generation of pulse energies exceeding the requirements of two- and three-photon microscopy for a variety of wavelengths within the optical window of biological tissue.

We are creating new femtosecond fiber laser technology tailored to fiber-optic fluorescence microendoscopy in collaboration with the Wise Research Group.

Heiko Enderling, PhD

Heiko is an Associate Member at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute and an Associate Professor of Oncologic Sciences at the University of South Florida. He presently serves as Director for Education and Outreach (Physical Sciences in Oncology Center) at the Moffitt Center.

Heiko is a leader in the development of quantitative oncology to personalize therapy by investigating tumor growth, tumor evolutionary dynamics and tumor–immune biology in response to therapy. The Quantitative Personalized Oncology Lab innovates new concepts for precision medicine and novel combination therapies by parameterizing mathematical and computational models using preclinical and clinical data in close collaboration with experimentalists and clinicians. His research has led to new approaches that harness patient-specific dynamics as biomarkers for treatment response to inform adaptive and personalized therapies that combat mechanisms of treatment escape and that have potential to extend life while using radiation and pharmaceuticals more efficiently.

We are investigating new approaches to precision photomedicine that stimulate the immune system, in synergy with immunotherapy, in collaboration with the Quantitative Personalized Oncology Lab.

Robert A. Gatenby, MD

Bob is the Chair of Radiology at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute where he spearheaded the formation of a new program titled Integrative Mathematical Oncology (IMO) and where he also co-directs the Cancer Biology and Evolution program. The IMO brings to the Cancer Center a cadre of applied mathematicians to collaborate with tumor biologists and clinical oncologists. The goal is to use the mathematics developed for other nonlinear dynamical systems to examine the physiology of a tumor incorporating factors such as phenotypic evolution, intracellular communication pathways and interactions with microenvironmental factors including therapies. The program fosters continuous interaction between mathematicians and experimentalists as they form explicit comprehensive theoretical models to serve as a framework for understanding cancer’s development, progression and treatment. The IMO, led by Dr. Gatenby, represents an experiment in rethinking paradigms in medical research. A key purpose of the IMO is to provide the quantitative methods that will allow experimentalists and clinicians to frame their hypotheses, simulate their experimental design in-silico, and identify first principles that govern cancer growth and treatment.

Notably, Bob's contributions to the conception and development of "adaptive therapy" were recently honored in a Wired article in response to the first encouraging clinical results that this approach reduces drug exposure toxicity while attaining a remarkable gain in halting the progression of metastatic disease (Nature Comm 2017)—with anticipated gains in long-term overall patient survival presently under study.

We are investigating new approaches to precision photomedicine that stimulate the immune system, in synergy with immunotherapy, in collaboration with Bob, Heiko (above) and the IMO.

Hiroaki Wakimoto, MD, PhD

We are collaborating with Hiroaki and his team at the Brain Tumor Stem Cell Lab (Massachusetts General Hospital) to develop imaging methods for visualizing the glioblastoma stem cell (GSC) tumor microenvironment and to guide photomedicine of drug-resistant tumors. This work is being performed using patient-derived GSC models developed by the Wakimoto group that recapitulate patient-specific disease phenotypes.

Robert S. Knox, PhD

Bob is a Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at the University of Rochester in New York. He was chair of the Department (1969–1973) and Associate Dean for Special Programs in the College (1982–1987). He is the author of the book Theory of Excitons and in 1994 was a co-recipient of the Biological Physics Prize of the American Physical Society in connection with his research on photosynthesis. Although Bob is well-known for these and related seminal contributions listed on his personal website, one of his most cited papers regards photomedicine (photodynamic oxygen consumption)!

We try not to bother Bob with our problems while he enjoys retirement, however, he is always enthused to talk science and contributes insights regarding the intricacies of photophysics, FRET and optical spectroscopy. His critical feedback and encouragement has proven helpful when we contemplate some of our more bold and risky ideas to develop new microscopy approaches.

Bob (left) played frisbee with Theodor Förster (right), possibly to experiment with mechanical energy transfer (as he tells the story), during a retreat organized by David Dexter in 1973. Förster is credited with developing the first correct treatment of resonance excitation transfer, which is widely referred to with the acronym FRET. Curiously, the “F” in FRET originally stood for “fluorescence", although excitation transfer is a non-radiative process that quenches and competes with fluorescence. FRET occurs via a virtual photon in the dipole near field (as opposed to far-field photon emission and reabsorption). "Fluorescence resonance energy transfer" is therefore viewed as a misnomer by many in the field who have adopted "Förster resonance energy transfer".

An interesting bit of trivia — Bob is only 5 degrees of separation from Einstein:

Dow-J-D and Knox-R-S. Excited-state wave functions, excitation energies, and oscillator strengths for krypton and xenon PR 152, 50-56 : 1966

Boivin-A, Dow-J, and Wolf-E. Energy flow in the neighborhood of the focus of a coherent beam JOSA 57, 1171-1175 : 1967

Born-Max and Wolf-Emil. Principles of Optics: Electromagnetic Theory of Propagation; Interference and Diffraction of Light. Pergamon Press, Oxford., ed. 6th : 1980

Born-M and Infeld-L. Foundations of a new field theory. PRS-A 144, 425-451 : 1934

Einstein-A and Infeld-L. The Evolution of Physics: The Growth of Ideas From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta. Cambridge U. Press: 1938