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Akers Research Group

Using state-of-the-art preclinical optical imaging system, the Akers lab investigates targeted optical molecular probes and nanomaterials for diagnosis and staging of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Optical molecular probes include fluorescent contrast agents for visualization of molecular events through alterations of fluorescence intensity, emission spectrum and by fluorescence lifetime. These non-invasive preclinical technologies provide a window to see molecular biology, as it happens, to aid drug development and improve our understanding of disease development and progression.
Optical imaging continues to gain traction in oncologic surgery through development of new imaging technology and clinical trials of fluorescent molecular probes. Translational research projects in the Akers lab are exploring exciting area of fluorescence imaging for real-time guidance of surgical procedures. The combination of novel optical imaging technologies with “invisible” fluorescent tracers will provide faster and more accurate identification of diseased tissues, improving surgical confidence and patient outcomes.


To enable visualization of molecular signals within the body using cutting edge imaging technology and highly specific contrast agents. Molecular imaging will improve our understanding of disease development and progression, enhance diagnosis and staging after occurrence, and optimize decisions for therapy for patients suffering with cancer or other disease. Optical imaging is an extremely versatile modality for interrogating molecular mechanisms using non-ionizing light to enhance vision beyond the visible.