Abstract: We have made great advances in our ability to treat cancer. However, we still lack the ability to determine which patients will benefit the most from treatment. Most cancer patients are treated with some combination of radiation and chemotherapy. The biggest challenge facing these patients is treatment failure. Treatment response is measured using clinical imaging modalities about a month after completion of treatment (5-7 weeks). Because there is no method to evaluate response during therapy, patients who do not respond favorably are losing critical time when alternative strategies could be considered. In this talk, I will discuss some of our recent work using diffuse optical spectroscopy to uncover key changes in the tumor microenvironment that are indicative of treatment resistance. I will also present key future directions of our lab that will allow us to visualize the functional and molecular underpinnings of treatment resistance.
Speaker Bio: Narasimhan Rajaram is currently an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Arkansas, where he directs the Laboratory for Functional Optical Imaging and Spectroscopy. Dr. Rajaram’s lab is focused on using optical imaging and spectroscopy to study the relationship between tumor oxygenation and metabolism and the role that this relationship plays in promoting cancer progression, metastasis, and treatment resistance. He was recently awarded the National Science Foundation’s Early Career Award (CAREER) and the Arkansas Biosciences Institute New Investigator of the Year. Dr. Rajaram’s lab is also funded by grants from the NIH and DoD. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering from Anna University in India, PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and completed postdoctoral training at Duke University.