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The Crouch Imaging Lab uses imaging to study various diseases at the basic science and translational science levels. Currently, we use preclinical ultrasound imaging to study cardiovascular biomechanics in various diseases and physiological states and mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) to study: spatial heterogeneity of biomolecules (lipids, metabolites, peptides) and distribution of drugs in organ tissues. Current projects:

Blood Clot Composition

Venous thromboembolism and ischemic stroke affect over 1.5 million people yearly. Both diseases are a result of blood clots forming in venous or arterial vasculature.  Characterizing spatial heterogeneity and mechanical properties of blood clots is important for understanding disease initiation/progression. Molecular spatial heterogeneity can contribute to variations in mechanical properties, and we are currently using MALDI imaging to assess this spatial heterogeneity.

Collaborators: Dr. Bryan Good

Example of bovine blood clots made in Dr. Good’s lab
Top: Plasma-only clots
Bottom: 40% hematocrit clots

Cardio-oncology: Cardiac biomechanics and lipidomics

Details coming soon.

Canine Sarcoma Characterization

The companion animal health market is currently valued at over $4 billion and is expected to continue growing. As with humans, cancer is a leading cause of companion animal morbidity and mortality, and dogs provide an advanced translational model compared to other preclinical models because of spontaneous tumor occurrence and larger size. Opportunities for canine cancer research include: (1) developing better diagnostics and treatments for companion animals and (2) conducting comparative research for the benefit of human health. This work is focused primarily on lipid characterization in sarcomas, which account for 10-15% of malignant tumors. Lipids play an important role in many biological functions including energy storage, cell structuring, and cell signaling, and strong evidence indicates cancer incidence and prognosis are strongly correlated with changes in lipid metabolism. Using mass spectrometry imaging (MSI), lipids were profiled in a case-study of a canine soft tissue sarcoma. 

Current Methods in the Lab: