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Optical Polarization Tractography (OPT)

We are developing a new technology for imaging fibrous tissues which exist in many parts of the body such as muscles, neural fibers, dental tissues, skin, and cartilage, etc. In these tissue, the directional fiber organization plays an essential role for their functions. Disruption of the normal fibrous structure is linked to tissue dysfunction. For example, the myocardial fibers form the unique "cross-helical" structure in heart which enables normal electric signal propagation and coordinated mechanical force production for efficient blood pumping. Change in such delicate heart structure is the most prominent pathological features in heart disease.

Optical polarization tractography is developed from polarization-sentive optical coherence tomography (PSOCT). PSOCT extends conventional OCT systems by providing high-resolution images of tissue polarization properties which exist in many tissues with organized structures such as neural fibers found in muscles. Check our recent publications for details!

Pupillary light reflex in autism

Every one in eight children in USA is born with a neurodevelopmental disability that will require medical and educational remediation. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) alone develops in 1 in 68 children in US (CDC data). Early therapeutic intervention is the only available treatment clinically proven to be effective in improving these children's outcome. However, current practices for early identification of neurodevelopmental disorders rely on parental reporting and behavioral observation, which suffer from poor accuracy and sensitivity.

Pupillary light reflex (PLR) is a simple functional neurological test that measures the pupil size changes in response to a short light flash. Our recent studies suggest that PLR may have the potential to meet this aforementioned clinical need of an objective biomarker for the early identification of neurodevelopmental disorders.

We are grateful for funding support from National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Health (NIH), DoD Autism IDEA program, USDA National Research Initiative (NIFA-NRI), Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, National Cattleman's Beef Association, as well as from University of Missouri & the Bioengineering Department.