Michael Andrew Choma MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Diagnostic Radiology, of Biomedical Engineering and of Pediatrics

Research Interests

Optics; Optical Coherence Tomography; Microscopy; Random Lasers; Pediatrics; Heart Development; Cilia; Respiratory Disease

Current Projects

  • Optical imaging of microfluidic-scale biological fluid flow
  • Quantitative imaging of embryo heart physiology and pathophysiology
  • Diagnostic imaging of pathologic cilia-driven fluid flow
  • Developing novel light sources for biological imaging

Research Summary

Many pediatric diseases are poorly understood, in part because they involve processes that occur at small, microscopic scales. In addition, the causes often involve small motions and fluid flows. For example, an early embryonic heart has a diameter of about 100 micrometers, which is about the diameter of a human hair. The cilia that move mucus out of our airways are even smaller- about 10 micrometers long. In order to better study pediatric disease at such small scales, we develop innovative optical imaging methods to visualize and quantify disease at these microscopic scales.

We have three areas of active research.

  1. First, we develop new laser sources for microscopy and biological imaging.
  2. Second, using sophisticated optical imaging methods, we study abnormal embryonic heart function in different animal models of human disease, including the tadpole Xenopus tropicalis. In particular, we study the role that specific human genes play in abnormal embryo heart development and physiology.
  3. Third, we are developing imaging methods to better diagnose abnormalities in respiratory cilia function. Since cilia expel mucus that contains allergens, viruses, and bacteria, they are essential to keeping lungs healthy.

The overall impact of our work is two-fold. First, we are developing core optical technologies that may find widespread use in microscopy. Second, our cilia and heart imaging research has the potential to personalize the diagnosis and treatment of a wide-variety of pediatric diseases.

Extensive Research Description



Selected Publications

  • Redding B, Choma MA, Cao H, “Spatial coherence of random laser emission.” Optics Letters 36: 3404-3406, 2011.
  • Jonas S, Bhattacharya D, Khokha MK, Choma MA “Microfluidic characterization of cilia-driven fluid flow using optical coherence tomography-based particle tracking velocimetry.” Biomedical Optics Express 2: 2022-2034, 2011.
  • Choma MA, Suter MJ, Vakoc BJ, Bouma BE, Tearney GJ. “Physiological homology between Drosophila melanogaster and vertebrate cardiovascular systems.” Disease Models and Mechanisms 4: 411-20, 2011.
  • Choma MA, Suter MJ, Vakoc BJ, Bouma BE, Tearney GJ. “Heart wall velocimetry and exogenous contrast-based cardiac flow imaging in Drosophila melanogaster using Doppler optical coherence tomography.” Journal of Biomedical Optics, 15: 056020, 2010.
  • Choma MA, Ellerbee AK, Yang C, Izatt JA. “Spectral domain phase microscopy,” Optics Letters 30: 1162-1164, 2005.
  • Choma MA, Sarunic MV, Yang C, Izatt JA. “Sensitivity advantage of swept source and Fourier domain optical coherence tomography,” Optics Express 11: 2183-2189, 2003.

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