Current Work Sites
711th Human Performance Wing/Human Effectiveness Directorate
Bioeffects Division, Fort Sam Houston, TX
Texas A&M University
Ph.D., Applied Physics
My research focus has been on developing a standardized-method of investigation for the biological impacts of concurrent magnetic nanoparticle and extreme-low frequency magnetic field exposures on cells, using a CHO-K1 cell line model. The purpose of this research has been to establish a standardized method of investigation, and grounds for further in-depth mechanistic, proteomic, and genomic studies. Additionally, I have begun research in applied optics techniques (more specifically dual Raman-Brillouin spectroscopy) for the purpose of chemical and mechanical characterization, and biomedical imaging applications.
Texas A&M University
In 2014 the American laser safety standard ANSI Z136.1-2014 was updated to include new experimental data that determined the threshold for damage to eye tissues from nanosecond laser pulses. As part of this revision, the maximum permissible near-infrared intensity was greatly increased and the results extrapolated to shorter pulse durations. Theoretical work suggests that exposure to near-infrared femtosecond laser pulses operated within ANZI limits could result in eye damage due to non-linear effects such as supercontinuum generation. My research focuses are: to numerically simulate femtosecond pulses entering the eye and determine under what conditions supercontinuum generation is of concern, to test a new fractional approach to predicting wave propagation, and to support researchers at Fort Sam Houston who will be experimentally measuring the propagation of femtosecond pulses in aqueous media and the bioeffects of the pulses in eye tissues.
Megan A. Mahlke
University of Texas at San Antonio
Nanosecond electrical pulses (nsEPs) have been demonstrated to stress mammalian cells via inducing the formation of small pores in the plasma membrane, allowing for unregulated influx of ions into the cell. Ultimately, nsEP exposure can lead to apoptosis, yet it is unknown whether pore formation alone is the cause. The effects of nsEPs on a cell’s structural integrity, ie. cytoskeletal components, are an important factor that remains unevaluated. Currently, I am working on the transfection of CHO cells with two plasmids carrying fluorescent-linked actin. These cells will be used to visualize the effects of nsEPs on the organization and structure of actin within mammalian cells. The effects of nsEPs on other structural proteins (tubulin, vimentin, histone H2B, etc) will also be evaluated using a similar methodology. Ultimately, this will provide insight into the involvement of structural proteins in nsEP-induced pore formation, plasma membrane disruption, and apoptosis.
Megan Mahlke, Bennett L. Ibey, Christopher Navara (2013) In G. J. Wilmink, B. L. Ibey, (Eds.), Terahertz and Ultrashort Electromagnetic pulses for Biomedical Applications. Effects of nanosecond electrical pulses (nsEPs) on cell cycle progression and susceptibility at various phases. Paper presented The International for Photonics 7 at Society Optics and Photonics, Photonics West, Moscone Center, San Francisco, 2-7 Feb (Vol. 8585; doi: 10.1117/12.2020679)