The Berezin Research Group is a member of Optical Radiology Laboratory (ORL). Led by Dr. Mikhail Berezin, our group is focused on developing optical methods for imaging of the disease. This involves the following aspects.
- Design and synthesis of optically active contrast agents
Near-infrared (NIR) and shortwave infrared (SWIR) probes are active within the range from 750-2000 nm. This spectral range has several benefits in biological studies, including reduced interference from endogenous fluorophores and lowered light scattering. Synthesis of many of these probes are challenging, especially beyond 1000 nm and our lab is looking for compounds that have high brightness and suitable for biological applications.
- Development of optical spectroscopic and hyperspectral imaging techniques
To increase the sensitivity of the spectral methods and prevent the loss of a significant amount of information through averaging, spatial dimensions can be added to the traditional spectroscopy-based techniques. In this imaging spectroscopy or hyperspectral imaging approach, every pixel on a 2D image carries a complete spectrum. Our lab develops instrumentation and algorithms for this technique from UV to SWIR and MWIR. The technique enables “optical staining” of the biological tissue including deep tissue without the use of traditional staining procedures.
A hand "optically stained" with hyperspectral imaging
- Application of the imaging approaches to peripheral neuropathies
Current imaging modalities lack the ability to quickly assess and classify peripheral nerve injury and neuropathies. We are developing optical methods that can quantitatively access the nerve damage and facilitate treatment. Our specific area of interest includes chronic chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy - a devastating side effect of the cancer treatment that affects millions of cancer patients and cancer survivors.
Our research group also serves as an Optical Spectroscopy and Imaging Core to characterize optical probes, small molecules and nanoparticles with advanced spectroscopic techniques.