Abstract: T cell and stem cell manufacturing are two major components of the cell therapy market. However, cost-effective and time-efficient optical technologies are needed to monitor the quality of cells during biomanufacturing. We have developed a non-invasive and label-free live cell imaging platform to monitor T cell function and predict the efficiency of stem cell differentiation. Fluorescence lifetime imaging of key metabolic co-enzymes was coupled with single cell image segmentation and prospective classification algorithms. This approach identified activated T cells with high accuracy and predicted stem cell differentiation efficiency early (day 1) with high accuracy. Autofluorescence imaging of single cells also quantified changes in metabolism during heart muscle cell (cardiomyocyte) maturation. This non-invasive and label-free method could be used monitor cell manufacturing for T cell and stem cell therapies, reducing the cost and time to produce these therapies.
Biography: Melissa Skala received her B.S. in Physics at Washington State University, her M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, then completed her Ph.D. and postdoctoral training in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. She is an Investigator at the Morgridge Institute for Research and a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She has been elected fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA), International society advancing light-based research (SPIE), and American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). Her lab develops biomedical optical imaging technologies for cancer research, biomanufacturing, and immunology.