Palanker Lab

neuronThe primary focus of our research is in interactions of electric field (including light) with biological cells and tissues.

In the field of optical imaging, we work on interferometric detection of neural signals and metabolic activity in cells. Sub-millisecond temoral resolution and sub-nanometer precision of quantitative phase imaging, without any exogenous markers, opens the door to optical alternative to traditional electrophysiology. We are developing multiple biological appllications of this technology, including the classification of cardiomyocytes, monitoring neural activity in the retina, metabolic changes in photoreceptors during retinal degeneration, and optical thermometry of single cells.

In the domain of electro-neural interfaces, we study the mechanisms of neural stimulation and inhibition, and develop applications to restoration of sight, electronic control of the body organs and systems, such as secretory glands and blood vessels.

We also study laser-tissue interactions, including multiphoton molecular dissociation and ionization, as well as dynamics of the cellular response to hyperthermia. We develop applications of these interactions to novel surgical, therapeutic and prosthetic technologies, primarily in ophthalmology. Using lasers, we are working on isolation of specific cell types for transplanation, and study their integration with the host retina for restoration of sight to patients blinded by retinal degeneration.

We are looking for smart and creative, motivated and independently-thinking graduate students and postdocs to work on a variety of our interdisciplinary projects.