Melissa Skala, PHD

Position title: Professor, Morgridge Institute for Research; Biomedical Engineering


Phone: 608-316-4108

Organ System/Disease Focus:
Eye; cardiovascular
Aligned Research Focus:
Optical imaging
Melissa Skala headshot


More Information:
Research Description:

Our goal is to develop optical imaging technologies and quantitative single-cell analysis to understand stem cell behavior, monitor and test engineered tissues. Our techniques are non-invasive and do not require labeling. Current technologies specifically monitor single-cell metabolism, microvessel morphology and blood flow, blood oxygenation, collagen content and architecture, and dynamic interplay between epithelial, stromal, and immune cells. We are particularly interested in organotypic cultures derived from primary human tissues for high-throughput drug screening, especially in cancer.

Selected References:
  • Label-Free Imaging to Track Reprogramming of Human Somatic Cells. Molugu K, Battistini GA, Heaster TM, Rouw J, Guzman EC, Skala MC, Saha K. GEN Biotechnol. 2022 Apr 1;1(2):176-191. doi: 10.1089/genbio.2022.0001. Epub 2022 Apr 20. PMID: 35586336
  • Label-free imaging for quality control of cardiomyocyte differentiation. Qian T, Heaster TM, Houghtaling AR, Sun K, Samimi K, Skala MC. Nat Commun. 2021 Jul 28;12(1):4580. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24868-1. PMID: 34321477
  • Walsh AJ, Mueller KP, Tweed K, Jones I, Walsh CM, Piscopo NJ, Niemi NM, Pagliarini DJ, Saha K, Skala MC. Classification of T-cell activation via autofluorescence lifetime imaging. Nat Biomed Eng. 2020 Jul 27
  • Datta R, Heaster TM , Sharick JT , Gillette AA , Skala MC. Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy: fundamentals and advances in instrumentation, analysis, and applications. J Biomed Opt, 2020
  • Pasch CA, Favreau PF, Yueh AE, Babiarz CP, Gillette AA, Sharick JT, Karim MR, Nickel KP, DeZeeuw AK, Sprackling CM, Emmerich PB, DeStefanis RA, Pitera RT, Payne SN, Korkos DP, Clipson L, Walsh CM, Miller D, Carchman EH, Burkard ME, Lemmon KK, Matkowskyj KA, Newton MA, Ong IM, Bassetti MF, Kimple RJ, Skala MC, Deming DA. Patient-Derived Cancer Organoid Cultures to Predict Sensitivity to Chemotherapy and Radiation. Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Jun 7.