Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Skala, Melissa C , Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology

Lab Url:

Phone Number: 615-322-2602


Skala, Melissa's picture

Office Address   Mailing Address

5905 Stevenson Center

Station B, Box 351631 37235

Research Specialty
Development of optical imaging, optical spectroscopy and nanotechnology for cancer diagnosis and therapy.

Research Description
Optical technologies are attractive for diagnosing cancer and for monitoring cancer therapy because these techniques are low cost, portable, fast and provide a wealth of information on tissue structure and function. Dr. Skala's research focuses on the development of optical imaging tools that monitor biological markers such as cellular metabolic rate, molecular expression, blood oxygenation and blood flow in vivo. These tools are applied to pre-clinical models for the design and development of effective therapeutic strategies, and in clinical studies to provide early detection and individualized treatment to cancer patients. Specific technologies under development include optical coherence tomography to monitor blood flow and microvessel morphology, multiphoton and fluorescence lifetime microscopy to image cellular metabolism, photothermal microscopy with nanoparticle contrast agents for molecular imaging, and optical spectroscopy to quantify tissue blood content and oxygenation.

Joshi, RV, Nelson, CE, Poole, KM, Skala, MC, Duvall, CL. Dual pH- and temperature-responsive microparticles for protein delivery to ischemic tissues. Acta Biomater, 9(5), 6526-34, 2013.

Trantum, JR, Eagleton, ZE, Patil, CA, Tucker-Schwartz, JM, Baglia, ML, Skala, MC, Haselton, FR. Cross-Sectional Tracking of Particle Motion in Evaporating Drops: Flow Fields and Interfacial Accumulation. Langmuir, , , 2013.

Tucker-Schwartz, JM, Hong, T, Colvin, DC, Xu, Y, Skala, MC. Dual-modality photothermal optical coherence tomography and magnetic-resonance imaging of carbon nanotubes. Opt Lett, 37(5), 872-4, 2012.

Tucker-Schwartz, JM, Meyer, TA, Patil, CA, Duvall, CL, Skala, MC. In vivo photothermal optical coherence tomography of gold nanorod contrast agents. Biomed Opt Express, 3(11), 2881-95, 2012.

Venkateswaran, A, Friedman, DB, Walsh, AJ, Skala, MC, Sasi, S, Rachakonda, G, Crooks, PA, Freeman, ML, Sekhar, KR. The novel antiangiogenic VJ115 inhibits the NADH oxidase ENOX1 and cytoskeleton-remodeling proteins. Invest New Drugs, , , 2012.

Walsh, A, Cook, RS, Rexer, B, Arteaga, CL, Skala, MC. Optical imaging of metabolism in HER2 overexpressing breast cancer cells. Biomed Opt Express, 3(1), 75-85, 2012.

Walsh, AJ, Poole, KM, Duvall, CL, Skala, MC. Ex vivo optical metabolic measurements from cultured tissue reflect in vivo tissue status. J Biomed Opt, 17(11), 116015, 2012.

Skala, MC, Fontanella, A, Lan, L, Izatt, JA, Dewhirst, MW. Longitudinal optical imaging of tumor metabolism and hemodynamics. J Biomed Opt, 15(1), 011112, 2010.

Skala, MC, Fontanella, A, Hendargo, H, Dewhirst, MW, Izatt, JA. Combined hyperspectral and spectral domain optical coherence tomography microscope for noninvasive hemodynamic imaging. Opt Lett, 34(3), 289-91, 2009.

Skala, MC, Crow, MJ, Wax, A, Izatt, JA. Photothermal optical coherence tomography of epidermal growth factor receptor in live cells using immunotargeted gold nanospheres. Nano Lett, 8(10), 3461-7, 2008.

Skala, MC, Palmer, GM, Vrotsos, KM, Gendron-Fitzpatrick, A, Ramanujam, N. Comparison of a physical model and principal component analysis for the diagnosis of epithelial neoplasias in vivo using diffuse reflectance spectroscopy. Opt Express, 15(12), 7863-75, 2007.

Skala, MC, Riching, KM, Bird, DK, Gendron-Fitzpatrick, A, Eickhoff, J, Eliceiri, KW, Keely, PJ, Ramanujam, N. In vivo multiphoton fluorescence lifetime imaging of protein-bound and free nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide in normal and precancerous epithelia. J Biomed Opt, 12(2), 024014, 2007.

Skala, MC, Riching, KM, Gendron-Fitzpatrick, A, Eickhoff, J, Eliceiri, KW, White, JG, Ramanujam, N. In vivo multiphoton microscopy of NADH and FAD redox states, fluorescence lifetimes, and cellular morphology in precancerous epithelia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 104(49), 19494-9, 2007.

Skala, MC, Squirrell, JM, Vrotsos, KM, Eickhoff, JC, Gendron-Fitzpatrick, A, Eliceiri, KW, Ramanujam, N. Multiphoton microscopy of endogenous fluorescence differentiates normal, precancerous, and cancerous squamous epithelial tissues. Cancer Res, 65(4), 1180-6, 2005.

Skala, MC, Palmer, GM, Zhu, C, Liu, Q, Vrotsos, KM, Marshek-Stone, CL, Gendron-Fitzpatrick, A, Ramanujam, N. Investigation of fiber-optic probe designs for optical spectroscopic diagnosis of epithelial pre-cancers. Lasers Surg Med, 34(1), 25-38, 2004.

Postdoctoral Position Available

Postdoctoral Position Details
Postdoctoral positions in optical imaging, cancer research, and cardiovascular research are available.

Updated Date

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