The research in our laboratory develops novel medical imaging methods to study the dynamics of molecular expression and physiological function. Most existing medical imaging systems produce images of anatomical features. However, anatomical information alone is insufficient for optimal treatment of a disease condition. Imaging the physiological (functional) and biochemical (molecular) properties of the system could provide key information to halt disease progression and growth. In our work, we integrate ultrasound and contrast-enhanced photoacoustic imaging systems, including the development of algorithms for functional and molecular photoacoustic imaging and the evaluation of photoacoustic and ultrasound contrast agents. A key focus of our imaging technology is the functional and molecular environment during compromised pregnancies which lead to the development of birth defects. We search for new methods to treat these conditions through the knowledge gained through our functional and molecular imaging technologies.

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