Tayyaba Hasan Laboratory



Wellman Center for Photomedicine
40 Blossom Street
Boston, MA 02114
phone: 617-726-6856
fax: 617-726-8566

About Tayyaba Hasan

Tayyaba Hasan is Professor of Dermatology at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Office for Research and Career Development at Massachusetts General Hospital, and an affiliated faculty at the Division of Health Sciences and Technology, a joint program of Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Hasan’s scientific efforts are focused on photochemistry-based approaches (photodynamic therapy, or PDT) for treatment and diagnosis of disease. The overall strategy is to develop molecular mechanisms and optical imaging-based combination treatment regimens where one treatment arm involves light activation of certain near-infrared-absorbing chemicals. This program identifies various cellular and molecular targets for specific diseases and designs constructs for optimal photochemical treatment effects. The targeting entities include photoactivatable nanoparticles and small molecules.

In cancer, the focus malignancies are ovarian, prostate, pancreas and head and neck cancers. In infections and infectious diseases, efforts are targeted toward developing microbial-enzyme-specific photoactivatable molecules for use in PDT. Target organisms in the infectious diseases are leishmaniasis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

In addition, optimal imaging strategies develop target specific molecular probes for in situ monitoring of cellular processes during treatment such as the up-regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is increasingly used to treat a wide number of diseases. It involves the photoactivation of a light-responsive chemical, or photosensitizer, upon exposure to an appropriate wavelength of light.

Photoactivation initiates photochemical reactions that generate highly cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) that interact with proximal biological molecules (photosensitization). PDT exploits these interactions to bring about acute tissue necrosis to a localized area. Diseases, such as tumors, can be selectively targeted by the activating light, which is usually delivered by a laser device. The major aspects of PDT that are currently studied in our laboratory are:

  1. Site-directed PDT
  2. Mechanism-based PDT combination therapies
  3. Optical imaging

Lab Members

Adnan Abu-Yousif, PhD Research Fellow
Oleg Akilov, MD, PhD
Humra Athar, PhD Research Fellow
Jonathan Celli, PhD Research Fellow
Sung K Chang, PhD Research Fellow
Zhiming Mai, PhD Instructor
Arshi Malik, PhD Research Fellow
Daniel Neuman, PhD Research Fellow
Prakash R. Rai, PhD Research Fellow
Imran Rizvi Graduate Student
Ulysses Sallum, PhD Research Fellow
Sarika Verma, PhD Research Scientist
Lei Z. Zheng, PhD Research Fellow
Xiang Zheng, PhD Research Fellow

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