Adjunct Assistant Professor at Thayer School of Engineering
Dr. Samkoe's laboratory research focuses on translational applications of quantitative molecular imaging to biomedical engineering and systems biology.
Protein quantification in living systems is an important part of diagnosing, understanding, and treating disease, especially cancer. Yet the majority of protein quantification techniques are developed for tissue that has been removed from the living system - such as pathology tissue samples, and cell culture. Molecular fluorescence imaging allows microscopic information from proteins, or molecules, to visualized over a wide range of resolutions - allowing for a systems approach to understanding protein expression and function within a living system. One of the lab's main focus is using a fluorescence imaging methodology called "paired-agent imaging" to quantify protein concentrations in living systems for applications in oncology. Quantification of cell surface receptors is being used to differentiate between cancerous tissue and normal tissue for surgical guidance in head and neck cancers. Intracellular cell signaling proteins can be quantified using novel fluorescent small molecule inhibitors to study drug-target availability, occupancy, and downstream response to understand tumor response heterogeneity and therapeutic resistance. In addition, our lab is involved in the translation of fluorescent molecular imaging agents for clinical use through the FDA's exploratory Investigational New Drug pathway.