Illuminating Better Cancer Treatments with Light

For June 5, 2019    

Hi WN@TL Fans,

First, a word from our sponsor.

Yesterday, June 3, marked the retirement of my mentor, Professor Marilyn Tufte,  after 51 years of teaching, research and service at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, the second-oldest campus of the UW System.  UW-P traces its origins to 1866, which means Marilyn has taught there for exactly 1/3 of its 153 years.

Over five decades—two full human generations—Marilyn has helped shape the education and fuel the futures of thousands of students.  Year by year she has also employed a few students to prep and clean up the bacteriology lab class in UW-P’s Boebel Hall. On the wall of the prep room is a chronological list of the names of students over the past ~42 years since the time Boebel Hall opened in 1977 (at 1:28 in the video).

It is the nature of academia that students on that list know only those students a couple years older than themselves and a couple years younger.  Thus the list is a series of links, and any link knows only its near neighbors.

It is also the nature of academia that as a professor Marilyn knows all the students, the whole chain reaching back and leading forward.  Happily, her beneficient influence will reverberate for generations to come throughout Wisconsin.

Sometimes, a professor is lucky to have the university;  and sometimes, the university is lucky to have the professor. For many UW-P alums, we are lucky and profoundly grateful to have had Marilyn Tufte help guide the arc of our lives.


From time to time it is my happy chore to note that the motto of UW-Madison is “Numen Lumen.”  The clunkiest translation possible is the one embraced by John Lathrop, the UW’s first chancellor:  “The divine within the universe, however manifested, is my light.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Google Translate is crisp:  “divine light.”

I’m going with “divine light” this week, and I’m using the verb form of divine because our speaker is using light to divine the nature and susceptibilities of cancer cells.

Tomorrow (June 5) Peter Favreau is here to share his research at the Morgridge Institute for Research that has focused on personalized medicine and improving treatments for colorectal cancer using biophotonics.

Here’s how he describes his talk, entitled “Illuminating Better Cancer Treatments with Light”:

“Cancer treatments have come a long way in the last century. Researchers continue to advance our understanding of the different physiological and environmental conditions necessary to cause cancer. These advances have made cancer therapies more effective at eradicating or managing patients’ cancers, but significant hurdles remain.

“As cancer therapies evolve, researchers are focusing more and more on identifying personalized treatment options that cater to each cancer patient’s unique physiology. In this talk, I’ll discuss how the Optical Microscopy in Medicine Lab at the Morgridge Institute for Research is designing more effective approaches for personalized medicine. I’ll discuss how light from a patient’s own tumor cells allows us to quickly ascertain the most effective treatment for a patient while minimizing common drug side effects.”

About the Speaker:

Peter Favreau is a postdoctoral researcher who has worked in Dr. Melissa Skala’s Optical Microscopy in Medicine Lab at the Morgridge Institute for Research for 3 years. His research has focused personalized medicine and improving treatments for colorectal cancer using biophotonics. Prior to his work at the Morgridge Institute for Research, he received his Ph.D. in Basic Medical Sciences and Biophotonics from the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama, where his work consisted of improving colorectal and lung cancer detection with better medical imaging tools.


Now if I could only get a handle on Marquette’s motto:  Numen Flumenque (which you will note has ‘numen lumen’ embedded within it).  Google is crisp again.



Speaking of light:

Next week (June 12) Emily Ward,  Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, shares her research from the Vision Cognition Laboratory with her talk entitled, “Seeing & Not Seeing:  Investigating Visual Awareness.

Hope to see you soon at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab.

Thanks again!

Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Division of Extension


UW-Madison:  5.8 million owners, one pretty good public land-grant teaching, research and extension university.

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