Raman spectroscopy for physiological investigations of tissues and cells

Thomas R Huser, James W Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Raman micro-spectroscopy provides a convenient non-destructive and location-specific means of probing cellular physiology and tissue physiology at sub-micron length scales. By probing the vibrational signature of molecules and molecular groups, the distribution and metabolic products of small molecules that cannot be labeled with fluorescent dyes can be analyzed. This method works well for molecular concentrations in the micro-molar range and has been demonstrated as a valuable tool for monitoring drug-cell interactions. If the small molecule of interest does not contain groups that would allow for a discrimination against cytoplasmic background signals, "labeling" of the molecule by isotope substitution or by incorporating other unique small groups, e.g. alkynes provides a stable signal even for time-lapse imaging such compounds in living cells. In this review we highlight recent progress in assessing the physiology of cells and tissue by Raman spectroscopy and imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-70
Number of pages14
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
StatePublished - Jul 15 2015


  • Cell physiology
  • Coherent Raman scattering
  • Inelastic light scattering
  • Label-free optical microscopy
  • Raman scattering
  • Single cell analysis
  • Tissue physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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