Cristina Zavaleta, PhD

My lab focuses on the development, assessment and clinical translation of new diagnostic strategies that include functional imaging capabilities to help clinicians detect cancers with better sensitivity and specificity. These tools are directed at: 1) Improving early cancer detection during routine screening techniques and 2) Helping surgeons identify and resect tumor margins with better sensitivity and specificity.

Development of Novel Nano-based Molecular Imaging Contrast Agents 
Characterization and In-vivo Biodistribution of Various Nanoparticle Constructs

Molecular Imaging and Nano Diagnostics (MIND) Lab

Development of New Optical Imaging Tools to Guide Tumor Resection




Multiphoton intravital microscopy video acquired in the ear vasculature of a living mouse in real time.  The mouse was intravenously injected with our newly developed liposomal nanoparticles that you can see traveling through the blood vessel.  Notice the green spherical nanoparticle contrast within the red vessels.

MicroPET overlaid with CT imaging allows for dynamic tracking of radiolabeled gold-silica nanoparticles administered to mice either intravenously or orally.  The videos depicted here demonstrate the accumulation of nanoparticles at 2 hours post administration. Notice the intense signal coming from the liver of the mouse after IV administration (left) as opposed to the signal residing within the stomach and intestine after oral administration (right).