Optical Radiology Labs at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
  • Welcome to the Optical Radiology Lab!

The Optical Radiology Lab harnesses the power of light to develop methods for understanding, diagnosing and treating human diseases. Our interdisciplinary and collaborative team of biologist, chemists, engineers, medical scientists and physicists are focused on uncovering new frontiers in medical research.  The unique strength of the ORL is the ability to develop complete solutions from conception, implementation, and validation to human clinical care.  We aim to change the way medicine is practiced.

  • Michel MTer-Pogossian Professorship Installation of Dr. S. Achilefu

Congratulations Dr. Achilefu!


  • Innovative light therapy reaches deep tumors


Using a mouse model of cancer, the Achilefu Lab have devised a way to apply light-based therapy to deep tissues never before accessible. Instead of shining an outside light, they delivered light directly to tumor cells, along with a photosensitive source of free radicals that can be activated by the light to destroy cancer. And they accomplished this using materials already approved for use in cancer patients. The study appears March 9 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. Congratulations to the authors - Samuel Achilefu, Nalinikanth Kotagiri, Gail Sudlow and Walter Akers!

Read more: Innovative light therapy with nanophotosensitizers reaches deep tumors;  

titanium dioxide nanoparticle

The titanium dioxide nanoparticle is shown here (purple)

carrying the iron-binding protein transferrin (blue and green)

and the light-sensitive cancer drug titanocene (red).



  • Dr. Achilefu receives prestigious St. Louis Award ​​​for cancer goggles

Washington University Chancellor Emeritus William H. Danforth (left) visits with Samuel Achilefu, PhD, after Achilefu received the St. Louis Award on Wednesday, Jan. 14, on the Medical Campus. The honor recognizes area residents whose achievements reflect positively on the community. Danforth received the honor in 2012.

  • The fluorescence goggle system developed by ORL was used for image guided biopsy of the sentinel lymph node in a breast cancer patient.




  • The brain imaging system developed by the ORL has been in the news lately. "It has been 20 years since near-infrared spectroscopy was first used to investigate human brain function. The technique has subsequently been extended to offer high-resolution imaging of the cortex and has now become a viable alternative to functional magnetic resonance imaging." Cooper, Nature Photonics News and Views.

ORL Updates:
NIR goggles featured in Scientific American, June 2015 edition!

Academy Says Future Looks Bright: Announces Honors Science Fair Division Results

Dr. Achilefu named recipient of The St. Louis Award.

©2011 Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology     Last Modified on January 14th