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Research Projects

Blood Cell Imaging

Blood Cell PhotoSchallek's lab, in collaboration with colleagues at the Flaum Eye Institute, the Center for Visual Science, and The Institute of Optics, uses a specialized camera called an Adaptive Optics Scanning Light Ophthalmoscope (AOSLO) — which can correct for small imperfections of the optics of the eye — to obtain images of retinal blood vessels that are ten-times thinner than a human hair. Videos can even capture the movement of single blood cells flowing within this network. 

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Blood Flow

SLOThe neurons of the retina are one of the most metabolically active tissues in the human body. To serve this demand, a network of capillaries delivers nutrients and removes waste products from the highly metabolic neurons. Previously, the fine details of this capillary network have been obscured by insufficient spatial and temporal resolution. In this line of work, we are developing AOSLO technology to objectively report capillary blood flow by imaging the movement of single blood cells as they flow through the capillary network.

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Immune Cell Imaging

Immune Cell ImagingThe retina, being a ‘window’ to the brain and the rest of the body, offers the opportunity to non-invasively study single cells of the immune system in their native micro-environment, and also inspect the global health of the body. Our lab’s work on immune cell imaging examines the highly dynamic immune function from milliseconds-to-months in conditions of health and disease.

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Laser Lesion Model

Laser Lesion ModelAOSLO provides a versatile platform for studying immune cell behavior in the mouse retina. One focus in our lab is to study immune cell interactions within the living retina. Here we induce outer retinal laser damage with 488 light, providing a sterile inflammatory microenvironment whereby we can track immune cell behavior.

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Retinal vascular structure in the healthy lab mouse

Retinal vascular structureIn the mouse, there are very few studies aiming to provide a thorough analysis the retinal vascular network in health. Our lab is working solidify our knowledge within this field. Understanding of the retinal vasculature is important on multiple fronts.

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3D quantitative phase imaging for the single retinal cells in the living retina

Quantitative phase imagingMost retinal cells are highly translucent by design. We have utilized phase-contrast adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy is an imaging tool that provides enhanced contrast for visualizing these cells in vivo.

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