Biomedical Engineering

Laura Marcu

laura marcu profileProfessor

(530) 752-0288

2513 GBSF

Marcu Lab Website

Personal Education

Diploma of Engineer in Mechanical Engineering, 1984, Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest, Romania
Post-graduate specialization in Spectroscopy, Lasers, and Plasma Physics, 1989, University of Bucharest, Romania
M.S. in Biomedical Engineering, 1995, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, 1998, University of Southern California, Los Angeles


Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group
Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Program
Comprehensive Cancer Center UC Davis Medical Center

Major Research Interest: Optical spectroscopy and imaging for biomedical diagnostics, clinical translation of biophotonic technologies; fluorescence lifetime tissue diagnostics; image-guided and robotic surgery; multimodal tissue diagnostics at interface of ultrasound backscatter microscopy and photoacoustics; applications of biophotonic technologies in oncology, cardiovascular diseases and tissue engineering.

Dr. Marcu’s research is in the area of biomedical optics, with a particular focus on research for development of optical techniques for tissue diagnostics. Her laboratory has developed time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy (TRFS) and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) systems for in-vivo tissue interrogation including human patients. Applications of these systems include clinical studies for the characterization and diagnosis of atherosclerotic plaques at high risk, intra-operative delineation of brain tumors, and intra-operative diagnosis of head and neck tumors. A more recent emphasis in her laboratory is on integration of fluorescence based technologies in multimodal tissue diagnostic platforms (with ultrasound backscatter microscopy and photoacoustic). Many of her studies are conducted in close collaboration with clinical departments (various surgical departments, cardiology, and pathology). Dr. Marcu laboratory has a broad expertise in clinical translation of biophotonic technologies that play an important role in addressing challenges associate with tissue diagnostics and therapies.

Currently, Dr. Marcu holds a joint appointment as a Professor of Neurological Surgery in the School of Medicine. She serves as Co-leader of the Comprehensive Cancer Center Biomedical Technology Program ( ), Domain Leader of the University of California Center for Accelerated Innovation ( ), and Chair of the Designated Emphasis in Biophotonics and Bioimaging graduate program ( Dr. Marcu is a fellow of the Optical Society of America (OSA), the International Society of Optical Engineers (SPIE), the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), and the American Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

Selected publications

D. Ma, J. Bec, D.R. Yankelevich, D. Gorpas, H. Fatakdawala, L. Marcu. Rotational multispectral fluorescence lifetime imaging and intravascular ultrasound: bimodal system for intravascular applications, J Biomed Opt. 19(6):66004 (2014)

D. Yankelevich, D. Ma, J. Liu, Y. Sun, Y. Sun, J. Bec, D. S. Elson, L. Marcu, “Design and evaluation of a device for fast multispectral time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy and imaging” Rev. Sci. Instrum, 85, 034303 (2014)

H. Fatakdawala, S. Poti, F. Zhou, Y. Sun, J. Bec, J. Liu, D. Yankelevich, S. Tinling, R. Gandour-Edwards, D. Farwell, and L. Marcu, “Multimodal in vivo imaging of oral cancer using fluorescence lifetime, photoacoustic and ultrasound techniques,” Biomed. Opt. Express 4, 1724-1741 (2013).

Y. Sun, J. E. Phipps, J. Meier, N. Hatami, B. Poirier, D. S. Elson, D. G. Farwell, and L. Marcu, “Endoscopic Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging for In Vivo Intraoperative Diagnosis of Oral Carcinoma,” Microscopy and Microanalysis 19, 791-798 (2013).

L. Marcu, “Fluorescence Lifetime Techniques in Medical Applications,” Annals of Biomedical Engineering 40(2), 304-331 (2012)

J. Liu, Y. Sun, J. Qi and L. Marcu. “A novel method for fast and robust estimation of fluorescence decay dynamics using constrained least-squares deconvolution with Laguerre expansion” Physics in Medicine and Biology, 57 (4), (2012).

L. Marcu and B. A. Hartl, “Fluorescence Lifetime Spectroscopy and Imaging in Neurosurgery,” IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 18(4), 1465-1477 (2012)

Y. Sun, D. Responte, H. Xie, J. Liu, H. Fatakdawala, J. Hu, K.A. Athanasiou, and L. Marcu. “Nondestructive Evaluation of Tissue Engineered Articular Cartilage Using Time-Resolved Fluorescence Spectroscopy and Ultrasound Backscatter Microscopy” Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods, 18(3): 215-226 (2012)

Y.H. Sun, N. Hatami, M. Yee, D.S. Elson, F. Gorin, R.J. Schrot, L. Marcu. “Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy for brain tumor image-guided surgery.” J Biomed Opt. 15(5): 056022 (2010)