Melissa Skala, PhD

Position title: Professor, Biomedical Engineering; Investigator, Morgridge Institute for Research


Phone: 608-316-4108

330 N Orchard St.
Madison, WI 53715
Office: Discovery Building 3316

Lab Website
Skala Lab
Melissa Skala

Research Interests

My lab develops new methods to understand and combat cancer using photonics-based technologies. Optical technologies are attractive for clinical translation because these techniques are inexpensive, portable, fast and provide a wealth of information on tissue structure and function. We are particularly interested in developing personalized cancer treatment strategies, and in developing more effective cancer therapies. Technology development focuses on metabolic and functional imaging of the tumor and its microenvironment (e.g. metabolic activity, blood vessel morphology, blood oxygenation, blood flow, and molecular expression).

Selected Publications

Functional Optical Imaging of Primary Human Tumor Organoids for Personalized Drug Screens. Walsh AJ, Cook RS, Skala MC. (2017) J Nucl Med. Jun 6. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.117.192534.

Autofluorescence imaging identifies tumor cell-cycle status on a single-cell level. Heaster TM, Walsh AJ, Zhao Y, Hiebert SW, Skala MC. (2017) J Biophotonics. May 9. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201600276

Autofluorescence imaging captures heterogeneous drug response differences between 2D and 3D breast cancer cultures. Cannon TM, Shah AT, Skala MC (2017). Biomed. Opt. Express 8, 1911-1925 doi: 10.1364/BOE.8.001911

Metabolic Imaging of Head and Neck Cancer Organoids. Shah AT, Heaster TM, Skala MC (2017) Metabolic Imaging of Head and Neck Cancer Organoids. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0170415. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0170415

Optical Imaging of Drug-Induced Metabolism Changes in Murine and Human Pancreatic Cancer Organoids Reveals Heterogeneous Drug Response. Walsh AJ, Castellanos JA, Nagathihalli NS, Merchant NB, Skala MC. Pancreas. 2016 Jul;45(6):863-9. doi: 10.1097/MPA.0000000000000543.

Drug response in organoids generated from frozen primary tumor tissues. Walsh AJ, Cook RS, Sanders ME, Arteaga CL, Skala MC. Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 7;6:18889. doi: 10.1038/srep18889.