Laura Marcu, a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of California Davis, has been elected a SPIE Fellow for achievements in biomedical optics, fluorescence lifetime spectroscopy, and imaging. SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, advances light-based technologies. Marcu is a leading researcher in biomedical optics, focusing on developing fluorescence-based instrumentation and methods for clinical applications.

She has created portable systems with handheld probes for use in the operating room and to help identify tumor margins during resection for gliomas and head and neck cancers. Recently Marcu integrated her fluorescence lifetime techniques with other modalities, such as ultrasound backscatter microscopy and photoacoustic imaging, to provide both structural and biochemical characterization of tissue in vivo.

In addition, she has developed sophisticated catheter-based systems, including catheters integrating multimodal fluorescence lifetime and intravascular ultrasound detection for interrogating the structure and biochemical signatures of atherosclerotic plaques. Marcu is also pioneering the use of optical fluorescence technologies for interrogating and monitoring engineered tissue constructs.

Dr. Marcu is an active member of the greater optics community as a fellow of both the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and as a member of the Optical Society of America and the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. Marcu’s contributions to these and additional organizations include serving on the BMES board of directors; as a member of the International Society on Optics Within Life Sciences Regional Council for North America; and as a conference co-chair, session chair, and program committee member for many conferences. Additionally, she has served on National Institutes of Health biomedical optics study sections and as a reviewer for several journals.

To watch a video of Dr. Marcu demonstrating her probe that uses fluorescence lifetime imaging to detect oral cancer, go to: