Biomedical Engineering Fall 2018 Seminar Series

High Resolution Optical Imaging of Metabolic Dynamics in Animals


Understanding the dynamics of metabolism in a multicellular organism is essential to unraveling the mechanistic basis of many biological processes. It is the synthesis, transformation and degradation of biomolecules (the definition of metabolism) that carry out the genetic blueprint. Traditional imaging methods such as MRI, PET, Fluorescence, and Mass Spectrometry have fundamental limitations. Being an emerging nonlinear vibrational imaging microscopy technique, stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) can generate chemical specific imaging with high resolution, deep penetration of depth, and quantitative capability. In the present work, we developed a new method that combines deuterium isotope probing and Stimulated Raman Scattering microscopy to visualize metabolic dynamics in live animals. The enzymatic incorporation of deuterium (D) into biomolecules will generate carbon-deuterium (C-D) bonds in macromolecules. Within the broad vibrational spectra of C-D bonds, we discover lipid-, protein-, and DNA-specific Raman shifts and develop spectral unmixing methods to obtain C-D signals with macromolecular selectivity. This technology platform is non-invasive, universal applicable, and it can be adapted into a broad range of biological studies such as development, aging, homeostasis, tumor progression, etc. We applied this method to study the myelination in the postnatal mouse brain, the identification of tumor boundaries, the intra-tumoral metabolic heterogeneity, and the differential protein/lipid metabolism during C. elegans’ aging process.


Currently a postdoctoral research associate at Columbia University, Dr. Lingyan Shi’s pioneering work focuses on the development and application of novel optical imaging techniques in neuroscience, cancer, and metabolism research. Her major achievements include the discovery of the “Golden Window” for deep brain imaging, and a breakthrough platform for imaging metabolic activities in animals. She earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the City College of New York. She has published 28 peer reviewed journal papers and has 6 patents currently pending. She won the prestigious Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists in 2018.


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Media Contact: Jamie Oberdick



The Department of Biomedical Engineering administers the undergraduate major in biomedical engineering, and is a part of the university-wide Intercollege Graduate Degree Program, offering both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Bioengineering. Our work combines traditional engineering principles with medicine and technology for the betterment of human health and society. 

Department of Biomedical Engineering

122 Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-863-6614