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Zhu Receives Igniting Research Collaborations Pilot Grant

December 15, 2020

Zhu's project is titled “Optical imaging of radiation-induced metabolic changes in human breast cancer organotypic tumor slices to predict radiotherapy response.”

Caigang Zhu, assistant professor in the F. Joseph Halcomb III, M.D. Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been selected to receive a pilot grant through UK’s “Igniting Research Collaborations (IRC)” program. His project is titled “Optical imaging of radiation-induced metabolic changes in human breast cancer organotypic tumor slices to predict radiotherapy response.”

For this project, Dr. Zhu is collaborating with Assistant Professor Xiaoqin Wang from the UK College of Medicine Department of Radiology and Professor Teresa Fan from the UK College of Medicine Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology. This IRC award will support their efforts to gather crucial preliminary data for the successful application of larger grants to the National Institutes of Health and foundations.

By leveraging the scientific expertise in optical metabolic imaging (Dr. Zhu), cancer metabolism and organotypic culture (Dr. Fan), and breast cancer radiation oncology (Dr. Wang) in the Markey Cancer Center, the team aims to establish a new paradigm to guide individualized radiotherapy design for breast cancer patients at the time of the breast-conserving surgery. If successful, the imaging techniques developed could impact patient care at the Markey Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated center in the entire state of Kentucky.

“Dr. Zhu is one of the assistant professors hired by the F. Joseph Halcomb III, M.D. Department of Biomedical Engineering in the fall of 2019, and this award is a reflection that the department is positioning well in contributing to elevating the Engineering-Medicine collaborations at UK,” says Dr. Guigen Zhang, chair of the BME department.

Congratulations to Dr. Zhu!