Developing an Innovative Three-Dimensional Histological System

John Junsuk Lee : Bioengineering

Mentor: Professor Tony Keaveny, Mechanical Engineering and BioEngineering

Histological analysis has been a vital technique for studying biological tissue structures for many decades now. Recent developments have allowed histologists to use fluorescent labels to visualize dynamic events such as bone remodeling. More advanced biochemical developments have expanded histological analysis to gene expression patterns, protein and mineral deposits. In spite of these advances, histology is primarily used for qualitative visual purposes (usually only in two dimensions). The product of John’s research will be a system capable of performing three-dimensional analysis including the complete reconstruction of bone tissue composition and gene expression, as they are in situ. The immediate impact will be an ability to understand the relationships between the mechanical loading and the cell/tissue response in skeletal loading models. Although this is just one specific example of the proposed system’s use, we believe that as this technology becomes more widespread, it will be a critical asset to many areas beyond bone tissue.