Customer Spotlight – Dr. John Viator


Dr. John Viator is the program director of Biomedical Engineering at Duquesne University. He runs a research laboratory that establishes a center for medical optics.  The lab works on photo-acoustic flow cytometry that exploits photo-acoustic effects to find circulating tumor cells or bacterial cells in blood cells.

Can you tell me more about yourself and your research?

JV: This is Dusquene University In Pittsburg and I was recruited here 6 years ago to create the engineering program starting with Biomedical engineering. So as the program director for the biomedical engineering I have created a biomedical engineering program and we graduated our first students in May 2018. And I run a research laboratory and establishing a center for medical optics with our other faculty members. My lab, we do a lot of photoacoustic with the Opotek products and I work on something called photoacoustic flow cytometry that exploits Photoacoustic effects to find circulating tumor cells or bacterial cells in blood cells.

Since graduate school I have been using Opotek starting with the MagicPRISM and I have been using this Vibrant for 5 years. And that University of Missouri I had a Vibrant that I was using there for almost a decade. I have been using the Opotek system since I started.

How has the Opotek laser been helpful in your research?

JV: It’s very reliable. We also have tunable feature system, which is a set apart from other single wavelength and dual wavelength system. The tunability gives us a whole lot of flexibility for looking at different targets and different absorbers when we’re trying to find different types of pathological cells.

We run a blood sample through this blood sample and it radiate it with laser light from the Opotek system, the Vibrant, and when certain cells, like circulating melanoma cells, pass through they absorb the light and create this photoacoustic effect and that indicates the presence of this rare cells. Normal leukocytes in the sample, white blood cells, do not interact with the laser light so it’s only when we find these rare melanoma cells that we get the photoacoustic effect and that allows us to detect them, count them, and even capture them.

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