Nathalie Y.R. Agar, Ph.D. is the founding Director of the Surgical Molecular Imaging Laboratory (SMIL) in the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and of Radiology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Agar’s multidisciplinary training includes a B.Sc. in Biochemistry, Ph.D. in Chemistry, a postdoctoral fellowship in Neurology and Neurosurgery from McGill University, and further postdoctoral training in Neurosurgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. From this unique background, she has developed distinct skills to better understand the requirements and limitations regarding the implementation of novel instrumentation, sample and data analysis, and cancer and surgical needs in the medical environment. She has also developed a network of specialists to satisfy the many different aspects of translational research activities.
Her research aims to develop and implement comprehensive molecular diagnoses through improved biochemical classifications. This will ultimately enable surgeons and oncologists to tailor treatment from the time of surgery, and allow personalized cancer care using molecular imaging with mass spectrometry approaches. She is also developing and validating a direct in vivo mass spectrometry analysis of surgical tissue to assist in the evaluation of tumor margins. Her laboratory also focuses on the mass spectrometry imaging of drugs and metabolites from pre-clinical animal models to clinical trials’ samples to study and screen for targeted therapeutics for brain cancers considering their ability to access the central nervous system.