Optical Radiology Labs at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
Tiffany P. Gustafson

Tiffany P. Gustafson

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Washington University School of Medicine
Department of Radiology
Campus Box 8225
510 Kingshighway Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110


  • University of Denver, Denver, CO, 2010, Ph.D., Organic Chemistry

    Advisor: Andrei G. Kutateladze
    Dissertation Title: Development of ultra-sensitive fluorescence photoamplification assays for the detection of molecular recognition event

  • Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA, 2004, BA, Chemistry, Biochemistry and General Science

Research Interests

My research focuses on the development of nanothermometers to optically guide and monitor thermal ablation of tumors. Thermal ablation of tumors is a promising strategy for the destruction of tumors which is based upon delivering thermal energy to the tumor site. Current challenges for this treatment revolve around the proximity of cancerous tissues to normal tissue, which can be very sensitive to overheating. On the other hand, inadequate heating may result in incomplete tumor eradication and tumor recurrence. Thus, the precise control of thermal ablation is of critical importance to ensure that every part of the tumor receives an adequate dose of energy while minimizing the risk of collateral tissue injury. I am developing a method of tumor treatment based upon laser thermal ablation enhanced with temperature sensitive nanoprobes. Overall the method will ensure the efficacy and safety of thermally ablative treatments, leading to fewer side effects when compared to other techniques.

Additionally, I am working on the development of extended near-infrared (exNIR) dyes (optical range 100-1400 nm) for imaging of cancer. These fluorophores have the potential to minimize traditional problems in the NIR window, such as scattering and residual fluorescence from endogenous fluorophores, while increasing the penetration depth (several millimeters for NIR dyes). This would render them more useful for deeper tissue imaging.


  • Majjigapu, J. R. R.; Kurchan, A. N.; Kottani, R.; Gustafson, T. P.; Kutateladze, A. G. Release and Report: A New Photolabile Caging System with a Two-photon Fluorescence Reporting Function. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2005, 127, (36), 12458-12459.
  • Gustafson, T. P.; Kurchan, A. N.; Kutateladze, A. G. Externally Sensitized Mesolytic Fragmentations in Dithiane-Ketone Adducts. Tetrahedron, 2006, 62, (27), 6574-6580.
  • Photoinduced Signal Amplification Through Controlled Externally Sensitized Fragmentation in Masked Sensitizers. Kottani, R.R.; Majjigapu, J.R.R.; Kurchan, A.N.; Majjigapu, K.; Gustafson, T.P.; Kutateladze, A.G. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2006, 128, (46), 14794-14795.
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