Imaging Sciences (Radiology)

The Foster Research Group

Thomas Foster

Thomas Foster, Ph.D.

Ph.D., Physics, 1990, University of Rochester

Professor of Imaging Sciences, Physics, Optics, and Biomedical Engineering

View Dr. Foster’s profile

Research Overview

The Foster Research GroupWe investigate a wide range of topics in biomedical optics and photodynamic therapy (PDT). PDT is a relatively new cancer intervention that has received limited regulatory agency approval in the U.S. and several other countries. It makes use of nontoxic photosensitizer drugs which, when irradiated with visible or near infrared light, initiate photochemical reactions that destroy tumors through a combination of direct and indirect mechanisms. We study PDT mechanisms and approaches to optimization at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and whole organism levels. And, we use photodynamic action as a tool to investigate more basic problems in optical biophysics. In recent years, our research has included an important translational component. We have, for example, designed and built instrumentation that integrates the delivery of the PDT treatment light with performance of reflectance and fluorescence spectroscopic evaluation of tumor response to therapy. One such system is already in clinical trials in skin cancer patients.

Other current projects include studies of light scattering from intact cells, fluorescence imaging of gene expression and of immune cell infiltration in tumors in vivo, optical property measurements of human cancer, and detailed mathematical modeling of photodynamic therapy dosimetry.

The research is highly interdisciplinary. Graduate students from Physics and Astronomy, the Institute of Optics, and the School of Medicine and Dentistry's graduate program in Biophysics have earned PhDs in our group. They have gone on to post doctoral fellowships at leading laboratories and to positions in colleges, research universities, industry and even law school. We invite you to explore these pages, which include descriptions of present and past group members, examples of research areas, and a complete list of our publications.


Anti-microbial PDT Anti-microbial PDT Fluorescence Anisotropy Fluorescence Anisotropy
Modeling of PDT Dosimetry Modeling of PDT Dosimetry Preclinical Evaluation of PDT Preclinical Evaluation of PDT
Tissue Spectroscopy Tissue Spectroscopy In Vivo Optical Imaging In Vivo Optical Imaging


View Foster Research Group Publications



Thomas Foster
University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 648
Rochester, NY 14642

Lab Members

Soumya MitraSoumya Mitra, Ph.D. - Research Assistant Professor

Tim BaranTim Baran, Ph.D. - Instructor



Michael FennMichael Fenn - B.S. Candidate Physics


Emmanuel MannohEmmanuel Mannoh - B.S. Candidate Biomedical Engineering

Kara LambsonKara Lambson - B.S. Candidate, Optics


David ConoverDavid Conover - Associate in Imaging Sciences


Former Ph.D. Students