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Dr. Laura Marcu

Dr. Laura MarcuDr. Laura Marcu is a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Davis.  In addition, she holds a joint appointment in UC Davis School of Medicine as a Professor of Neurological Surgery and serves as co-Leader of the Biotechnology Program within the UC Davis Cancer Center. Her area of study concerns research into the development of fluorescence lifetime spectroscopy and imaging techniques for in-vivo tissue diagnosis.

Research projects in her laboratory include:

1)    Rupture-prone plaque diagnosis by IVUS-guided time-resolved spectroscopy. The project is to develop a multi-modal catheter-based diagnostic technique for localization and characterization of rupture-prone atherosclerotic plaques. 

2)    Fluorescence lifetime method for guided therapy of brain tumors. This project concerns clinical evaluation and optimization studies of time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy and imaging technique for the intraoperative identification of tumor vs. normal brain during neurosurgical resection of brain tumors.

3)    Clinical evaluation of a fluorescence lifetime based technique for demarcation of head and neck tumors. This project in collaboration with Dr. Gregory Farwell in the Department of Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery is to evaluate a novel optical spectroscopy/imaging device for intraoperative identification of tumor vs. normal tissue during surgical resection of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) in human patients.

4)    Development of multimodal diagnostic platform combining fluorescence, ultrasound and photoacoustic techniques.  


Her research work has been supported by several agencies including National Institutes of Health (NHLBI, NCI, NIBIB, and NCRR) and the Whitaker Foundation. 


To read more about Dr. Marcu and her current research projects, please click on
Current group members: Project Scientist: Yinghua Sun; Postdoctoral researchers: Yang Sun, Hongtao Xie; Graduate student researchers: Jennifer Phipps, Brett Fite; Undergraduate researcher: Adrian Lam, Mathew Lam, Mathew Yee, Nisa Hatami.  To read more, please click on

Recent Publications:

Y. H. Sun, J. Phipps, D. S. Elson, H. Stoy, S., S. Tinling, J. Meier, B. Poirier, F. S. Chuang, D. G. Farwell, and L. Marcu, Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy: In vivo application to diagnosis of oral carcinoma, Optics Letters, Volume 34, Issue 13, pp. 2081-2083, 2009.

D.N. Stephens, J. Park, Y. Sun, T. Papaioannou, and L. Marcu, Intraluminal fluorescence spectroscopy catheter with ultrasound guidance, Journal of Biomedical Optics, 14, 030505 (2009).

Y. Sun, J. Park, D.N. Stephens, J.A. Jo, L. Sun, J.M. Cannata, R. M.G. Saroufeem, K.K. Shung, and L. Marcu, Development of a dual-modal tissue diagnostic system combining time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy and ultrasonic backscatter microscopy, Review of Scientific Instruments, 80, 065104 (2009).

L. Marcu, J. A. Jo, Q. Fang, T. Papaioannou, T. Reil, J-H Qiao, J. D. Baker, J. A. Freischlag, M. C. Fishbein, Detection of Rupture-Prone Atherosclerotic Plaques by Time-Resolved Laser Induced Fluorescence Spectroscopy, Atherosclerosis, 2009.

Y. H. Sun, R. Liu, D. S. Elson, C. Hollars, J. A. Jo, J. Park, Y. Sun, and L. Marcu, Simultaneous time- and wavelength-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy for near real-time tissue diagnosis, Optics Letters, Vol. 33(6):630-632, 2008.

To read more about Dr. Marcu's publications, please click on
Other activities:

Dr. Marcu is a member of the Board of Directors of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).