Welcome to our 2020-2021 program year.  While the situation may evolve, our current plan is for all of our meetings to be virtual this program year.  If possible, we may try for an outdoor initiation ceremony in the spring. We will make a final decision on that next spring when we are closer to initiation.  We will host all of our meetings through Zoom.   An email with the link to join the meeting will be sent to people who RSVP for the meeting.  For our Friday meetings, we will have a speaker at 7 and then a social hour afterwards for anyone who wishes to stay online.  

Meeting Information:


Meeting Date and Time: Friday, March 5, 2021

7 pm Central Time - Presentation (via Zoom)

8 pm Central Time - Social Hour (via Zoom breakout rooms)

Speaker: Cristina Zavaleta Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California in the department of Biomedical Engineering

Title: A Colorful Approach Towards Developing New Imaging Agents for Improved Cancer Detection

Abstract: Providing physicians with new imaging agents to help detect cancer with better sensitivity and specificity has the potential to significantly improve patient outcomes. Development of new imaging agents could offer improved early cancer detection during routine screening or help surgeons identify tumor margins for surgical resection. In this presentation I will discuss our most recent work which demonstrates that the colorful class of dyes and pigments that humans routinely use for the coloring of foods, drugs and cosmetics offer a host of untapped imaging properties. We have characterized their absorption, fluorescence and Raman scattering properties in the hopes of identifying a new panel of dyes that offer exceptional imaging contrast. We found that some of these coloring agents, coined as “optical inks”, exhibit a multitude of useful optical properties, outperforming some of the clinically approved imaging dyes on the market. We observed exceptional imaging contrast in various tumor models that suggest that these dyes and pigments should be further investigated for cancer imaging applications. If further developed, these coloring agents could play important roles in the clinical setting. A more sensitive imaging contrast agent could enable earlier cancer detection or help guide surgical resection of tumors, both of which have been shown to significantly improve patient survival. This talk will focus on our recent efforts to incorporate these new imaging agents into nano-based delivery vehicles and our current path towards translating these exciting new imaging agents to the clinic.


Speaker Bio: Dr. Zavaleta was born and raised in McAllen, Texas, a small town on the border with Mexico.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Medicine at a small private university in San Antonio. After graduating, she started in the Medical Physics graduate program at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio where she focused on utilizing radioactive nanoparticles for the treatment of ovarian cancer. She was the first in her family to obtain a Ph.D. She began a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University where she dedicated the majority of her time developing a new Raman imaging strategy for cancer detection. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California in the department of Biomedical Engineering. Her lab focuses on providing physicians with better molecular imaging tools to improve cancer detection.


RSVP: by Evite or to Gretchen Shearer at gshearerdgs@gmail.com by Wednesday, March, 2021.  You will receive an email with the link and instructions to Log in to the meeting.

If you have not already done so, we also encourage you to visit the ISP national Website to pay your annual dues.  Teresa Bixby prepared a very helpful video to walk you through the process using the link


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