The VICC.ORG Investigator Directory

Melissa Skala, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
VICC Member

Contact Information:

5905 Stevenson Center
Nashville, TN 37240


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.




  • Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, 2007, Duke University, Durham, NC
  • M.S. Biomedical Engineering, 2004, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
  • B.S. Physics, 2002, Washington State University, Pullman, WA



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