Optical Radiology Labs at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
Samuel Achilefu

Samuel Achilefu

Director, Optical Radiology Laboratory
Professor of Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics
Michel M. Ter-Pogossian Endowed Chair in Radiology
Vice Chair, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology

Washington University School of Medicine
Department of Radiology
4515 McKinley Ave Rm 2211
St. Louis, MO 63110


Other Titles

Director, Washington University Molecular Imaging Center (P50 grant)
Director, Center for Multiple Myeloma Nanotherapy (U54 grant)
Co-Leader, Oncologic Imaging Program, Siteman Cancer Center (P30 grant)


  • University of Nancy, France 1991 PhD, Molecular Physical & Materials Chemistry

  • Oxford University, Oxford, UK 1991-1993 Post Doctorate, Oxygen transport systems and hematology

Research Interests

We use a multidisciplinary approach to address important biomedical problems and provide interdisciplinary training to students and postdoctoral fellows. We are particularly interested in developing molecular systems and methods to detect diseases at early stages, prevent disease complications, and implement tailored therapeutic regimen. Areas of interest include molecular optical imaging of tumors and angiogenesis as well as the design and development of new molecular probes and nanomaterials for imaging the expression of aberrant genes, proteins, and other pathophysiologic processes. Specific delivery of imaging agents and drugs to target cell organelles or tissue is another area of interest. In addition, our research program involves the biological evaluation of the new materials to assess ligand trafficking in cells, cytotoxicity, cell proliferation, subcellular distribution, enzyme kinetics, and activation of specific molecular pathways in cells. Small animal molecular imaging of pathologic tissues with state-of-the-art optical imaging systems provides preclinical data before human studies. We are also interested in developing tissue-specific multi-modal imaging molecules that harness the strengths of optical with other imaging methods such as magnetic resonance and radionuclear (positron and single photon emission) imaging systems. Finally, we are also developing tumor-specific Type I and II photodynamic therapy drugs that have both diagnostic and therapeutic potential. The lab has a multidisciplinary team of investigators with expertise in a wide range of fields, including chemistry, molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, physics, engineering, veterinary medicine, pathology, and immunology. Collaboration with other labs and institutions is highly encouraged.

For an up to date list of Dr. Achilefu's publications please see his entry on PubMed and Scopus.

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