Biomedical spectroscopy and imaging

Academic leads: Professor Nick Stone and Dr Francesca Palombo

Our research focuses on harnessing the power of vibrational spectroscopy to probe subtle compositional changes in cellular, tissue and fluid biochemistry that accompany disease processes, and developing novel approaches to translate basic science to clinical implementation.

Over the last decade or so, we have been pioneering biomedical vibrational spectroscopy. Both Raman (RS) and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopies can rapidly, and non-invasively probe the molecular constituents of the tissue/cells without the need for sample preparation. This is a holistic approach and directly measures the ensemble molecular signature from the sample volume. In cells and tissue this can include the phenotypic expression of a particular genetic mutation or mutations.

Early work has optimised the technology to enable accurate and reliable measurement of disease specific changes in the biochemical signatures of numerous tissues, by utilisation of the molecular fingerprint provided by the spectroscopy technique.

We are developing novel techniques that utilise the full molecular spectral signature. These include:

  • endoscopic and needle based fibre optic Raman probes;
  • spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS);
  • transmission Raman spectroscopy;
  • surface enhanced spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SESORS);
  • rapid Raman and mid-IR mapping and discrete wavelength imaging for histopathology and cytology;
  • drop coated deposition Raman spectroscopy (DCDRS).

In collaboration with the Nonlinear biophotonics group we are exploring non-linear Raman techniques for biomedical applications.