About Us


Dr. Heather Clark is a distinguished professor with a prominent trajectory on nanosensors research, and the founding director of the Institute for Chemical Imaging of Living Systems (CILS). She envisioned the CILS institute and pushed the needle forward to build its infrastructure and science.

Clark is particularly fascinated by the use of nanosensors in the brain and nervous system, and the potential to measure signals in the human body in non-conventional ways. She has been a professor of bioengineering for over 12 years at Northeastern University, and is now the director of the School for Biological and Health Systems Engineering. She  has more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and a career full of international presentations at conferences, seminars, and media interviews. She has received funding from multiple NIH initiatives and has earned AIMBE distinction, DARPA honor, and Young Faculty Award for her work.



At Northeastern’s Institute for Chemical Imaging of Living Systems (CILS), we develop imaging tools to highlight chemical processes—enabling clinicians to better diagnose and treat disease.

    The CILS team is designing tools to track specific chemicals by quantity, location, and time through the body in real-time.

    Get in touch with us

    9 + 5 =

    (617) 373-4565

    cils@northeastern.edu (business inquiry)

    cils-core@northeastern.edu (instrument access inquiry)

    ISEC 080, 805 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA, 02115

    Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex at Northeastern University


    The CILS Core Facilities are located in the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex, Room 080 in the basement.

    Once inside ISEC, you can find the facilities by taking the elevator down to the basement and turning right. Access to the facilities is restricted, so once you reach the locked double doors you’ll use the labeled door bells to call into the lab.


    Renaissance Parking Garage

    835 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA 02120

    Street Parking – Columbus Avenue

    2-hour street parking (unmetered)

    Public Transportation

    Northeastern Station

    Huntington Ave and Opera Pl, Boston, MA 02115

    Green line connection

    Ruggles Station

    1150 Tremont St, Roxbury, MA 02120

    Orange line, bus, and commuter rail connections

    Our facility

    Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex

    ISEC 080, 805 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA, 02115


    Mild repetitive TBI reduces brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the substantia nigra and hippocampus: A preclinical model for testing BDNF-targeted therapeutics
    Wooden Steps to Shallow Depths: A New Bathymodiolin Mussel, Vadumodiolus teredinicola, Inhabits Shipworm Burrows in an Ancient Submarine Forest
    Milk Exosomes Anchored with Hydrophilic and Zwitterionic Motifs Enhance Mucus Permeability for Applications in Oral Gene Delivery
    Engineered Bacteria Titrate Hydrogen Sulfide and Induce Concentration-Dependent Effects on Host in a Gut Microphysiological System
    Endothelial Glycocalyx Sensitivity to Chemical and Mechanical Sub-Endothelial Substrate Properties
    Controlling Pericellular Oxygen Tension in Cell Culture Reveals Distinct Breast Cancer Responses to Low Oxygen Tensions
    Hypoxia-Inducing Cryogels Uncover Key Cancer-Immune Cell Interactions in An Oxygen-Deficient Tumor Microenvironment
    Direct Differentiation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells into Vascular Network along with Supporting Mural Cells


    Bioengineered Perfused Human Brain Microvascular Networks Enhance Neural Progenitor Cell Survival, Neurogenesis, And Maturation
    Pten, Pi3K and PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 Dynamics Modulate Pulsatile Actin Branching in Drosophila Retina Morphogenesis
    Medioapical Contractile Pulses Coordinated between Cells Regulate Drosophila Eye Morphogenesis
    Cationic Carrier Mediated Delivery of Anionic Contrast Agents in Low Doses Enable Enhanced Computed Tomography Imaging of Cartilage for Early Osteoarthritis Diagnosis
    Sox17 Mediates Adult Arterial Endothelial Cell Response to Hemodynamics
    Cold Exposure Impairs Extracellular Vesicle Swarm–Mediated Nasal Antiviral Immunity
    Lineage-Mismatched Mitochondrial Replacement in an Inducible Mitochondrial Depletion Model Effectively Restores the Original Proteomic Landscape of Recipient Cells
    Exploring Functional Protein Covariation across Single Cells Using nPOP
    Transport of Symbiont-Encoded Cellulases from the Gill to the Gut of Shipworms via the Enigmatic Ducts of Deshayes: A 174-Year Mystery Solved
    Click Chemistry-Enabled Conjugation Strategy for Producing Dibenzodiazepinone-Type Fluorescent Probes To Target M2 Acetylcholine Receptors
    Developing a Transwell Millifluidic Device for Studying Blood-Brain Barrier Endothelium
    Diosmin and Its Glycocalyx Restorative and Anti‐Inflammatory Effects on Injured Blood Vessels
    pH-Responsive i-motif-Conjugated Nanoparticles for MRI Analysis
    Hybridization Chain Reaction Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (HCR-FISH) in Ambystoma mexicanum Tissue
    Intra-Articular Kinetics of a Cartilage Targeting Cationic PEGylated Protein for Applications in Drug Delivery
    Charge-Based Drug Delivery to Cartilage: Hydrophobic and not Electrostatic Interactions are the Dominant Cause of Competitive Binding of Cationic Carriers in Synovial fluid
    In vitro Testbed Platform for Evaluating Small Volume Contrast Agents via Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    Usability of Deep Learning Pipelines for 3D Nuclei Identification with Stardist and Cellpose
    A Long-Circulating Vector for Aptamers Based upon Polyphosphodiester-Backboned Molecular Brushes
    Hypoxia Inhibits the Cardiac IK1 Current through SUMO Targeting Kir2.1 Activation by PIP2
    Denoising Multiplexed Microscopy Images in N-Dimensional Spectral Space
    Cationic Peptide Carriers Enable Long Term Delivery of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 to Suppress Osteoarthritis-Induced Matrix Degradation
    Increasing the Throughput of Sensitive Proteomics by plexDIA
    Targeting Oncogenic KRAS with Molecular Brush-Conjugated Antisense Oligonucleotides


    Local Mechanical Stimuli Correlate with Tissue Growth in Axolotl Salamander Joint Morphogenesis
    Maximizing TLR9 Activation in Cancer Immunotherapy with Dual-Adjuvanted Spherical Nucleic Acids
    Single-Dose Intra-Cartilage Delivery of Kartogenin Using a Cationic Multi-Arm Avidin Nanocarrier Suppresses Cytokine-Induced Osteoarthritis-Related Catabolism
    Regenerating Axolotl Retinas Regrow Diverse Cell Types with Modulation by Notch Signaling and Reconnect to the Brain
    Wnt Signaling Coordinates the Expression of Limb Patterning Genes During Axolotl Forelimb Development and Regeneration
    A Constitutively Expressed Fluorescence Ubiquitination-Based Cell Cycle Indicator (FUCCI) in Axolotls for Studying Tissue Regeneration
    Development of Fluorescently Labeled, Functional Type I Collagen Molecules
    Interstitial Flow Enhances the Formation, Connectivity, and Function of 3D Brain Microvascular Networks Generated within a Microfluidic Device
    Regeneration and Assessment of the Endothelial Glycocalyx To Address Cardiovascular Disease
    Mild Repetitive Head Impacts Alter Perivascular Flow in the Midbrain Dopaminergic System in Awake Rats
    Quantitative Imaging of Blood-Brain Barrier Permeability Following Repetitive Mild Head Impacts
    High-Throughput Microfluidic 3D Biomimetic Model Enabling Quantitative Description of the Human Breast Tumor Microenvironment
    Injectable Lignin-co-Gelatin Cryogels with Antioxidant and Antibacterial Properties for Biomedical Applications
    Mechanical Causation of Biological Structure: Productive Pulls Produce Persistent Filaments in a Human Fibroblast Model of Matrix Development
    Bottlebrush Polymer-Conjugated Melittin Exhibits Enhanced Antitumor Activity and Better Safety Profile
    Two-Photon Peak Molecular Brightness Spectra Reveal Long-Wavelength Enhancements of Multiplexed Imaging Depth and Photostability


    Stiffening of the Extracellular Matrix is a Sufficient Condition for Airway Hyperreactivity
    Biomaterials and Oxygen Join Forces to Shape the Immune Response and Boost COVID-19 Vaccines
    Imaging in vivo Acetylcholine Release in the Peripheral Nervous System with a Fluorescent Nanosensor
    A DNA-Based MRI Contrast Agent for Quantitative pH Measurement
    Confocal Imaging Capacity on a Widefield Microscope Using a Spatial Light Modulator
    Lung Injury in Axolotl Salamanders Induces an Organ‐Wide Proliferation Response
    3D Visualization of Macromolecule Synthesis
    Self-Assembled DNA–PEG Bottlebrushes Enhance Antisense Activity and Pharmacokinetics of Oligonucleotides


    High-Power Light-Emitting Diode Array Design and Assembly for Practical Photodynamic Therapy Research
    Engineering Bacillus subtilis as a Versatile and Stable Platform for Production of Nanobodies
    Optical Nanosensors for in vivo Physiological Chloride Detection for Monitoring Cystic Fibrosis Treatment
    Site‐Specific Bioconjugation and Convergent Click Chemistry Enhances Antibody–Chromophore Conjugate Binding Efficiency
    Real-Time Particle-by-Particle Detection of Erythrocyte-Camouflaged Microsensor with Extended Circulation Time in the Bloodstream
    Multichannel Correlation Improves the Noise Tolerance of Real-Time Hyperspectral Microimage Mosaicking