Melissa Skala, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Biomedical Engineering


Morgridge Institute for Research


MIR 2320
Morgridge Institute for Research
330 N Orchard St.
Madison, WI 53715

Picture of Melissa Skala, PhD


Postdoctoral 2010, Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC
PhD 2007, Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC
MS 2004, Biomedical Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
BS 2002, Physics, Washington State University, Pullman, WA


Dr. Skala has developed and translated optical imaging techniques to quantify cellular metabolism, blood oxygenation and concentration, microvessel network structure and perfusion, and collagen content. These novel optical endpoints have been used to unravel the mechanisms of cancer progression, drug response, and resistance to therapy. These imaging studies have been performed on mouse models of cancer and in human feasibility studies. Her lab has also expanded this work to investigate pro-angiogenic therapies in mouse models of peripheral artery disease. Additionally, her lab has developed new molecular imaging modalities that combine the power of optics and nanotechnology for high-sensitivity deep-tissue imaging. Dr. Skala's expertise is specifically in cancer, primary tumor organoids, mouse models, metabolism, multiphoton and fluorescence lifetime microscopy, optical coherence tomography, second harmonic microscopy, optical spectroscopy, cardiovascular diseases, and nanotechnology. Her ongoing projects require active collaborations and mentorship of students and postdocs from diverse backgrounds in medicine, engineering, and science.