What we do.
Comprised of researchers based at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and Dartmouth’s Arts and Sciences Graduate Programs, the Optics in Medicine Laboratory studies aspects of tissue spectroscopy and imaging using both visible and near-infrared light. Rooted in the scientific explorations of the Enlightenment thinkers, modern spectroscopy examines the interaction between matter and radiated energy through the measurement of spectra. The imaging technologies developed by the lab are used to model breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, the brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme (shown at right), soft tissue sarcoma, and certain types of bone cancer. The Optics in Medicine Laboratory also examines the use of photodynamic therapy—a non-invasive medical procedure that uses photo-activated drugs to target tumors—in skin cancer treatment, and researches how this treatment method can be combined with other types of cancer treatments to maximize the effectiveness of therapy regimens.
Where we’re based.
While the Optics in Medicine Laboratory is based at the Thayer School of Engineering, research is conducted at the Williamson Translational Research Building at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, with partners the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, and Dartmouth’s Art and Sciences Graduate Programs. These facilities enable lab members to conduct interdisciplinary research that draws upon many aspects of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines.
In addition to the multidisciplinary identity of Dartmouth’s Optics in Medicine Laboratory, the group is also engaged in research partnerships with other educational institutions as well as private-sector entities. These partnerships not only promote research collaboration within academia, but also allow the laboratory to develop, market, and produce medical technologies that can be used in clinical settings.
How we’re funded.
The research conducted by the Optics in Medicine Laboratory is funded by a number of governmental organizations including National Institute of Health (NIH), its National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program of the Department of Defense. The funds awarded by these organizations are used to develop new medical technologies that strengthen cancer treatment regimes and improve the prognosis of a number of aggressive tumors. The Optics in Medicine Laboratory is invested in using these funds–which ultimately come from the US taxpayers–as efficiently as possible to advance medical science.