Welcome to the Rossi Biophotonics Lab website! Dr. Vince Rossi is the PI of the lab, bringing his Biophotonics research to the Department of Physics at Utah Valley University. The lab houses three dedicated, custom holographic microscopes that are being used for a number of different research projects. Many of our projects are based on collaborations with faculty at other universities. Our work focuses on better understanding diseased cells, and in particular cancers and cancer therapies via holographic microscopy and light sactter imaging.

The Rossi Biophotonics Lab started in the Fall of 2018 at Washburn University in Topeka, KS. There, nine undergraduate research students worked on projects in the Biophotonics Research Group. Undergraduate research students came to the lab not only from within the Physics & Astronomy Department, but also from the Biology, Chemistry and Computer Information Sciences Departments. Dr. Rossi is actively recruiting similar students to work in his lab now that is has moved to UVU. Former undergraduate research students from the group have gone on to graduate programs, to work in industry and to work for local and national government agencies. Former students from the lab work in a variety of careers, including engineering, pharmaceuticals, neuroscience, computer science and law. General information about our projects can be found below, with more detailed information accesible via their respective links.


4/23/24: We have reached the end of my first academic year at UVU and rebuilding the lab is progressing well. There are three new undergraduate researchers in the lab: Spencer started in the fall, followed by Haley and Marren in the spring. Two of the three optical systems I brought with me in my move to UVU are rebuilt and functioning. The third system is undergoing a retrofit during the rebuild for new applications. Thank you to Spencer, Marren and Haley for all of your efforts in getting the lab up and running again!

12/29/23: The presentation that Drs. Vern Hart, Dustin Shipp and I presented at the 2023 Utah Life Sciences Summit is now available via the BioUtah YouTube Channel.

11/9/23: Drs. Vern Hart, Dustin Shipp and I have started a Biomedical Optics Research Group at UVU, bringing together researchers from all of our labs to collaorate and share their work with one another. Drs. Hart, Shipp and I also presented a talk on Biomedical Optics at Utah Valley University at the 2023 Utah Life Sciences Summit in Salt Lake City.

8/15/23: The Dean of the College of Science and the Physics Department at UVU were generous enough to buy out the entire Rossi Biophotonics Lab from Washburn University. The infrastructure is all moved in and set up. Now we just need to rebuild our devices. There are three independent imaging systems that need to be rebuilt and operating programs need to be written from scratch using LabVIEW. Let Dr. Rossi know if you are interested in learning about optical design, how to build and calibarate complex optical systems or how to automate complex systems using LabVIEW. The lab has an immediate need for students looking gain practical experince and add those skills to their repertoire. Once we have the optical systems running again, we'll be looking for a biology student to maintain cell lines for the lab and handle some of the biological research assocaited with the projects. All of those skills will be applicable across the sciences and engineering, whether you're looking to start a career right after graduation or looking to move on to a graduate ptogram.

4/25/23: After five years at Washburn University, the Rossi Biophotonics Lab is moving to the Department of Physics at Utah Valley University in Orem, UT! Moving to UVU will give me opportunities to grow my research lab and advance my career while creating opportunities to collaborate with existing Biophotonics, Biomedical Optics and Biophysics labs within the department. More importantly, UVU puts my family back closer to home and family. Thank you to Washburn University, the Physics & Astronomy Department and NSD in general, my collaborators as well as K-INBRE for all of your support over the last five years. And a special thank you to all of the undergraduate research students who have worked in the lab over the last five years---I greatly appreciate all of your help and enjoyed mentoring all of you and wish you all the best in your future careers and endeavors!

Are you interested in Biophotonics research? The Biophotonics Lab is looking for undergraduate researchers—you needn't be a physics major. If you're interested in doing research in the lab, contact Dr. Rossi.

Integrated Research

The Biophotonics Lab offers a broad range of projects for undergraduate research. Physics operates at the intersection between rational and empirical knowledge—between theory and experiment. While the Biophotonics Lab is in principle an experimental lab, offering students experience in optical design, the experimental work we do here is generally supported by computational modeling. Beyond optical design and computational modeling, students have the opportunity to learn computer interfacing, experimental design, image processing and analysis as well as tissue culture practices.

Digital Holographic Microscopy

Digital holographic Microscopy (DHM) offers label-free, real-time imaging of cells and other biological samples as a means of monitoring their response to experimental conditions. Moreover, since holography is a means of recovering the whole electric field (amplitude & phase) from the sample, DHM allows us to generate a 3-D reconstruction of the sample via a single holographic image.

Quantitative Phase Imaging

The phase of an electrodynaimc wave (light) changes upon interaction with a sample due to differences in the local depth and index of refraction of the sample (as compared to its surroundings). Quantitative Phase Imaging (QPI) is a means of measuring the resulting phase of light after interacting with a sample. Given the initial phase, the detected phase can be quantitatively related back to the sample characteristics.

Optical Scatter Imaging

Light scattered from intracellular objects such as mitochondria and nuclei have distinctive scattering functions. By imaging the scattered light, we are thereby able to determine information about the scatterers themselves. We use Optical Scatter Imaging (OSI) in order to gain information about intracellular structures and how their morphologies react to different stimuli.

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a targeted therapy for treating cancers and infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria. A photosensitizer, light and molecular oxygen are required for PDT. Light excites the photosensitizer upon absorption. Once in an excited energy level, the photosensitizer can transfer energy to ambient molecular oxygen via electron transfer, thereby creating reactive oxygen species that damage their immediate surroundings.

Arduino-based Imaging Incubator

The Biophotonics Lab has developed a low-cost, Arduino-based imaging incubator which allows us to keep cells alive while imaging continuously for up to 24 hours.