Title: “How to measure a bone’s chemical composition and mechanical strength using nothing but light: transcutaneous Raman spectroscopy of mouse legs”
Abstract: Human bone diseases are often studied using animal models. Although mechanical tests can measure the strength of bones by breaking them, it is sometimes desirable to study how an animal’s bone changes over time, which requires noninvasive diagnostics. Unlike X-ray techniques that probe structure, Raman spectroscopy offers a chemically-specific approach. Our group has acquired Raman spectra of mouse tibia bones, both ex vivo (isolated) and through the overlying soft tissue of intact legs. Determining a bone’s spectral contribution to a transcutaneous measurement requires careful processing, particularly because Type I collagen appears in both bone and soft tissue. In this talk, I will describe our experimental and computational methods of dealing with this challenge. I will also report that Raman spectra can detect changes in bone mechanical strength that correlate both with disease and with a steroid treatment regimen.
Speaker background: Andrew Berger is an associate professor in The Institute of Optics and in the department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Rochester. His research is in biomedical applications of Raman spectroscopy, elastic scattering, and near-infrared absorption monitoring of cerebral hemodynamics. He also conducts research in Optics Education, and will mention this work as an “appetizer” in the talk.