Jennifer Kehlet Barton

Jennifer Kehlet Barton

Director, BIO5 Institute
Distinguished Professor, Thomas R Brown - Biomedical Engineering
Member of the Graduate Faculty
Professor, Agricultural-Biosystems Engineering
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Professor, Cancer Biology - GIDP
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Professor, Medical Imaging
Professor, Optical Sciences
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(520) 626-0314

Work Summary

Work Summary
I develop new optical imaging devices that can detect cancer at the earliest stage. Optics has the resolution and sensitivity to find these small, curable lesions, and we design the endoscope that provide access to organs inside the body. .

Research Interest

Research Interest
Jennifer Barton, Ph.D. is known for her development of miniature endoscopes that combine multiple optical imaging techniques, particularly optical coherence tomography and fluorescence spectroscopy. She evaluates the suitability of these endoscopic techniques for detecting early cancer development in patients and pre-clinical models. She has a particular interest in the early detection of ovarian cancer, the most deadly gynecological malignancy. Additionally, her research into light-tissue interaction and dynamic optical properties of blood laid the groundwork for a novel therapeutic laser to treat disorders of the skin’s blood vessels. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal papers in these research areas. She is currently Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Optical Sciences, Agriculture-Biosystems Engineering, and Medical Imaging at the University of Arizona. She has served as department head of Biomedical Engineering, Associate Vice President for Research, and is currently Director of the BIO5 Institute, a collaborative research institute dedicated to solving complex biology-based problems affecting humanity. She is a fellow of SPIE – the International Optics Society, and a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Keywords: bioimaging, biomedical optics, biomedical engineering, bioengineering, cancer, endoscopes


Korde, V., Zhao, D., Raghunand, N., Black, J. F., Gillies, R., & Barton, J. K. (2007). Using methemoglobin as a magnetic resonance imaging contrast agent. LASERS IN SURGERY AND MEDICINE, 3-3.
Winkler, A. M., Rice, P., Weichsel, J., Backer, M. V., Backer, J. M., & Barton, J. K. (2009). In vivo imaging using a VEGF-based near-infrared fluorescent probe for early cancer diagnosis in the AOM-treated mouse model. REPORTERS, MARKERS, DYES, NANOPARTICLES, AND MOLECULAR PROBES FOR BIOMEDICAL APPLICATIONS, 7190.
Barton, J., Winkler, A. M., Rice, P. F., Drezek, R. A., & Barton, J. K. (0). Quantitative tool for rapid disease mapping using optical coherence tomography images of azoxymethane-treated mouse colon. Journal of biomedical optics, 15(4).

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) can provide new insight into disease progression and therapy by enabling nondestructive, serial imaging of in vivo cancer models. In previous studies, we have shown the utility of endoscopic OCT for identifying adenomas in the azoxymethane-treated mouse model of colorectal cancer and tracking disease progression over time. Because of improved imaging speed made possible through Fourier domain imaging, three-dimensional imaging of the entire mouse colon is possible. Increased amounts of data can facilitate more accurate classification of tissue but require more time on the part of the researcher to sift through and identify relevant data. We present quantitative software for automatically identifying potentially diseased areas that can be used to create a two-dimensional "disease map" from a three-dimensional Fourier domain OCT data set. In addition to sensing inherent changes in tissue that occur during disease development, the algorithm is sensitive to exogeneous highly scattering gold nanoshells that can be targeted to disease biomarkers. The results of the algorithm were compared to histological diagnosis. The algorithm was then used to assess the ability of gold nanoshells targeted to epidermal growth factor receptor in vivo to enable functional OCT imaging.

Barton, J., Bonnema, G. T., Cardinal, K. O., Williams, S. K., & Barton, J. K. (2008). An automatic algorithm for detecting stent endothelialization from volumetric optical coherence tomography datasets. Physics in medicine and biology, 53(12).

Recent research has suggested that endothelialization of vascular stents is crucial to reducing the risk of late stent thrombosis. With a resolution of approximately 10 microm, optical coherence tomography (OCT) may be an appropriate imaging modality for visualizing the vascular response to a stent and measuring the percentage of struts covered with an anti-thrombogenic cellular lining. We developed an image analysis program to locate covered and uncovered stent struts in OCT images of tissue-engineered blood vessels. The struts were found by exploiting the highly reflective and shadowing characteristics of the metallic stent material. Coverage was evaluated by comparing the luminal surface with the depth of the strut reflection. Strut coverage calculations were compared to manual assessment of OCT images and epi-fluorescence analysis of the stented grafts. Based on the manual assessment, the strut identification algorithm operated with a sensitivity of 93% and a specificity of 99%. The strut coverage algorithm was 81% sensitive and 96% specific. The present study indicates that the program can automatically determine percent cellular coverage from volumetric OCT datasets of blood vessel mimics. The program could potentially be extended to assessments of stent endothelialization in native stented arteries.

Luo, Y., Castro, J., Barton, J. K., Kostuk, R. K., & Barbastathis, G. (2010). Simulations and experiments of aperiodic and multiplexed gratings in volume holographic imaging systems. OPTICS EXPRESS, 18(18), 19273-19285.