Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2023
Home Department: Materials Science & Engineering
Faculty Advisors: Jennifer Dionne (Materials Science & Engineering) and Amanda Kirane (Surgery - General Surgery)

Research Title: Spatially Profiling the Melanoma Tumor Microenvironment Using Metasurface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy and Machine Learning

Research Description: The tumor immune microenvironment (TiME) is a rich cellular ecosystem comprising of the blood vessels, immune cells, and extracellular matrix that surround a tumor, and it plays an integral role in tumor progression and response to immunotherapies. Current methods to accurately profile cell populations in the TiME are costly, time-intensive, and complex. Here, Babatunde and Professors Kirane and Dionne propose a label-free assay which utilizes the unique vibrational scattering spectra of each cell, enhanced by silicon nanostructures, and machine learning algorithms to spatially distinguish the cellular makeup and functional state of melanoma tumors. By combining the fields of cancer biology, nanophotonics/optics, and machine learning, they aim to develop a platform from which meaningful prognostic and therapeutic insights can be derived, such as changes in immune populations in response to immunotherapies.