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Nonlinear Optical Microscopy for Studies of Disease and Injury in Epithelial Tissues

Gracie Vargas, PhD

The nonlinear optical imaging methods of multiphoton autofluoresence microscopy and second harmonic generation microscopy offer a unique label-free approach to in vivo depth-resolved imaging and have increasingly been investigated for studies of injury and disease as well as potential diagnostic aids. In this presentation the use of these methods in epithelial precancer and cancer imaging will be discussed, with focus on epithelial, basement membrane, and subepithelial changes that occur in oral (pre)cancer with image-based metrics that have been explored as markers of neoplasia in studies that account for inflammation as well. Avenues for development of a clinically translatable approach for the oral cavity and other sites requiring compact instrumentation will be discussed. The potential use of multiphoton autofluorescence microscopy for studies of epithelial injury in the female reproductive tract, augmenting previous endomicroscopy efforts, will be discussed. Other ongoing projects of the lab will be briefly mentioned.

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