John Stuart Nelson

picture of John Stuart  Nelson

Professor of Surgery, Biomedical Engineering, Surgery
School of Medicine
Medical Director, Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic

Director, Vascular Birthmarks and Malformations Diagnostic and Treatment Center (UCIMC)

B.S., University of Southern California, 1978, Biological Sciences

M.D., University of Southern California, 1981

Ph.D., University of California Irvine, 1987

Phone: (949) 824-7526
Fax: (949) 824-2726

University of California, Irvine
Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic
1002 Health Sciences Road East
Mail Code: 1475
Irvine, CA 92617
Research Interests
Laser surgery, port wine stains, hemangiomas, vascular birthmarks
Academic Distinctions
September 2002: Dr. ASC Chan Memorial Lectureship. The University of Hong Kong School of Medicine

July 2003: ARISE Exemplary Performance Award, University of California Irvine Medical Center

April 2004: Ellet H. Drake, M.D., Lectureship Award. American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery

June 2004: Research Associates Athalie Clarke Achievement Award
College of Medicine, University of California Irvine

November 2004: Lifetime Achievement Award. DakDak Photoaging Technologies Photobiology Working Group

October 2005: 2005 Physician of the Year Award. The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation

November 2005: 2005 Innovation Award for Product Commercialization
University of California Irvine Office of Technology Alliances

April 2007: Leon Goldman, M.D., Lectureship Award. American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery

April 2009: Caroline and William Mark Memorial Lectureship Award. American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery
Research Abstract
J. Stuart Nelson, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Surgery, Dermatology and Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine and Medical Director of the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic (BLIMC). Dr. Nelson has a very active research program that includes studies at both the basic science and applied levels. The basic science studies fall into two specific areas: [1] the biophysics of laser interaction with biological systems and [2] the understanding of structural changes produced in tissue and organ systems by laser light. At the applied level his research objectives are to develop new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases amenable to laser therapy. The applied research areas all derive from, and are coincident with, the above basic science objectives.

The principal goal of Dr. Nelson's research has been to integrate experimental and theoretical descriptions of light propagation in biological tissues to yield a basis for dosimetry of laser-tissue interactions. His research is interdisciplinary in nature combining expertise in optics, electrical and mechanical engineering, and medicine. At present, the specific problems being addressed by his research program are: 1) the characterization of photothermal heating in tissue; 2) solution of inverse problems related to laser stimulated infrared emission from biological tissues (infrared tomography); 3) optimization of laser tissue dosimetry for surgery; 4) optical, thermal and acoustic imaging of living tissue; 5) modeling of bioheat transfer; and 6) combined photo-chemical and -thermal therapies for neoplasms and vascular malformations.

Substantial independent grant support for Dr. Nelson’s research program has been obtained from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the form of a R29 FIRST Award, K-24 Mid-Career Clinical Investigator Award and six R01 Independent Researcher Awards. The aforementioned awards have originated from three different NIH Institutes which demonstrates how he combines both basic science and clinical perspective in such a way as to develop an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving. Additional support has been obtained by him in the form of a Biomedical Engineering Research Grant from the Whitaker Foundation, Grant for Innovative Technology from the Biomedical Research Technology Program, Career Development Award from the Dermatology Foundation and grants from the Office of Naval Research, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Department of Energy and private industry.

Dr. Nelson’s clinical practice combines his expertise in engineering, optics, medicine and surgery. He is engaged in a university-based clinical practice serving patients with port wine stains and other hypervascular skin lesions. Dr. Nelson and colleagues developed the “Dynamic Cooling Device” which in conjunction with pulsed dye laser technology has become the treatment of choice for the treatment of port wine stain birthmarks and other hypervascular skin lesions. Worldwide, this methodology developed by Dr. Nelson has now been incorporated into more than 15,000 laser devices.

Dr. Nelson has published more than 300 scientific articles and 13 book chapters. Dr. Nelson served as President of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) 2001-2002. He assumed the position of Editor-in-Chief of the ASLMS journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine in April 2005.

In addition to Dr. Nelson's research, teaching and faculty responsibilities, he is the Director of the Vascular Birthmarks and Malformations Diagnostic and Treatment Center (VBMDTC) at the University of California Irvine Medical Center. The VBMDTC is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of medical specialists designed to provide accurate diagnosis and current treatment options for patients and their families who are affected by vascular birthmarks or malformations, including port wine stains, hemangiomas, arteriovenous malformations, and lymphatic malformations. The multidisciplinary team headed by Dr. Nelson, consists of such specialists as anesthesiologists, dermatologists, head and neck surgeons, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons and radiologists.

Dr. Nelson is internationally recognized in the field as an expert in laser-tissue interactions. As such, he is an invited lecturer at many national and international society meetings. He has been invited to Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom and Vietnam to address major scientific symposia. He is frequently called upon to provide contributions to major textbooks and scientific journals on the preclinical and clinical aspects of lasers.
Available Technologies
Dr. Nelson has published more than 300 scientific articles and 13 book chapters. Below are listed Dr. Nelson's publications in the last three years.

Zhang, R, Ramirez-San-Juan, J, Choi, B, Jia, W, Aguilar, G, Nelson, JS. Thermal responses of ex-vivo human skin during multiple cryogen spurts and 1450 nm laser pulses. Lasers Surg. Med. 38:137-141, 2006.

Jia, W, Aguilar, G, Verkruysse, W, Franco, W, Nelson, JS. Improvement of port wine stain laser therapy by skin preheating prior to cryogen spray cooling: a numerical simulation. Lasers Surg. Med. 38:155-162, 2006.

Kim, J, Oh, J, Milner, TE, Nelson, JS. Hemoglobin contrast in magneto-motive optical Doppler tomography. Optics Letters 31:778-780, 2006.

Smith, TK, Choi, B, Ramirez-San-Juan, J, Nelson, JS, Osann, K, Kelly, KM. Microvascular blood flow dynamics associated with photodynamic therapy, pulsed dye laser irradiation and combined regimens. Lasers Surg. Med. 38:532-539, 2006.

Hirschburg, J, Choi, B. Nelson, JS, Yeh, AT. Collagen solubility correlates with skin optical clearing. J. Biomed. Optics 11:040501-1-3, 2006.

Jung, B, Kim, CS, Choi, B, Nelson, JS. Hand-held pulsed photothermal radiometry system to estimate epidermal temperature rise during laser therapy. Skin Res. and Tech. 12:292-297, 2006.

Datrice, N, Ramirez-San-Jan, J, Zhang, R, Meshkinpour, A, Aguilar, G, Nelson, JS, Kelly, KM. Cutaneous effects of cryogen spray cooling on in vivo human skin. Dermatol. Surg. 32:1007-1012, 2006.

Choi, B, Ramirez-San-Juan, J, Lofti, J, Nelson, JS. Linear response range characterization and in vivo application of laser speckle imaging of blood flow dynamics. J. Biomed. Optics 11:041129, 2006.

Kim, J, Oh, J, Milner, TE, Nelson, JS. Imaging nanoparticle flow using magneto-motive optical Doppler tomography. Nanotechnology 18:035504, 2007.

Childers, MA, Franco, W, Nelson, JS, Aguilar, G. Laser surgery of port wine stains using local vacuum pressure: Changes in skin morphology and optical properties (Part I). Lasers Surg. Med. 39:108-117, 2007.

Franco, W, Childers, MA, Nelson, JS, Aguilar, G. Laser surgery of port wine stains using local vacuum pressure: Changes in calculated energy deposition (Part II). Lasers Surg. Med. 39:118-127, 2007.

Hirschburg, J, Choi, B. Nelson, JS, Yeh, AT. Correlation between collagen solubility and skin optical clearing using sugars. Lasers Surg. Med. 39:140-144, 2007.

Han, B, Jung, B, Nelson, JS, Choi, EH. Analysis of facial sebum distribution using a digital fluorescent imaging system. J. Biomed. Optics 12: 014006, 2007.

Franco, W, Liu, J, Romero-Mendez, R, Nelson, JS Aguilar, G. Extent of epidermal protection by a cryogen spray against laser irradiation and potential over-cooling due to the overlap of two consecutive spurts. Lasers Surg. Med. 39:414-421, 2007.

Nelson, JS, Geronemus, RG. Redarkening of port-wine stains 10 years after laser treatment. New Eng. J. Med. 356:2745-2746, 2007.

Jia, W, Choi, B, Franco, W, Lofti, J, Majaron, B, Aguilar, G, Nelson, JS. Treatment of cutaneous vascular lesions using multiple-intermittent cryogen spurts and two-wavelength laser pulses: Numerical and animal studies. Lasers Surg. Med. 39:494-503, 2007.

Milanic, M, Majaron, B, Nelson, JS. Pulsed photothermal temperature profiling of agar tissue phantoms. Lasers Med. Sci. 22:279-284, 2007.

Verkruysse, W, Jia, W, Franco, W, Milner, TE, Nelson, JS. Infrared measurement of human skin temperature to predict the individual maximum safe radiant exposure. Lasers Surg. Med. 39:757-766, 2007.

Jia, W, Svaasand, L, Nguyen, T, Nelson, JS. Dynamic skin cooling with an environmentally compatible alternative cryogen during laser surgery. Lasers Surg. Med. 39:776-781, 2007.

Kang, H, Jung, B, Nelson, JS. Polarization color imaging system for on-line quantitative evaluation of facial skin lesions. Dermatol. Surg. 11:1350-1356, 2007.

Phung, TL, Oble, DA, Jia, W, Benjamin, LE, Mihm, MC, Nelson, JS. Can the wound healing response of human skin be modulated after laser treatment and the effects of exposure extended? Implications on the combined use of the pulsed dye laser and a topical angiogenesis inhibitor for treatment of port wine stain birthmarks. Lasers Surg. Med. 40:1-5, 2008.

Verkruysse, W, Choi, B, Zhang, JR, Kim, J, Nelson, JS. Thermal depth profiling of vascular lesions: automated regularization of reconstruction algorithms. Phys. Med. Biol. 53:1463-1474, 2008.

Huang, YC, Ringold, TL, Nelson, JS, Choi, B. Noninvasive blood flow imaging for real-time feedback during laser therapy of port wine stain birthmarks. Lasers Surg. Med. 40:167-173, 2008.

Son, T, Han, B, Jung, B, Nelson, JS. Fluorescent image analysis for evaluating the condition of facial sebaceous follicles. Skin Res. Technol. 14:201-207, 2008.

Yoon, J, Son, T, Choi, EH, Choi, B, Nelson, JS, Jung, B. Enhancement of optical skin clearing efficacy using a microneedle roller. J. Biomed. Optics 13: 021103, 2008.

Jeon, M, Kim, J, Song, BJW, Lee, H, Choi, S, Nelson, JS. Tunable ring laser based on a semiconductor optical amplifier at 1300 nm using a simple wavelength selection filter. Microw. Opt. Tech. Lett. 50:1317-1320, 2008.

Kang, H, Son, T, Yoon, J, Kwon, K, Nelson, JS, Jung, B. Evaluation of laser beam profile in soft tissue due to compression, glycerol and micro-needling. Lasers Surg. Med. 40:570-575, 2008.

Chang, CJ, Hsiao, YC, Mihm, MC, Nelson, JS. Pilot study examining the combined use of pulsed dye laser and topical imiquimod versus laser alone for treatment of port wine stain birthmarks. Lasers Surg. Med. 40:605-610, 2008.

Franco, W, Vu, H, Jia, W, Nelson, JS, Aguilar, G. Fluid and thermal dynamics of cryogen sprays impinging on a human tissue phantom. J. Biomechanical Engineering. 130:051005-1-7, 2008.

Rylander, CR, Milner, TE, Baranov, SA, Nelson, JS. Mechanical tissue optical clearing devices: Enhancement of light penetration in ex vivo porcine skin and adipose tissue. Lasers Surg. Med. 40:688-694, 2008.

Verkruysse, W, Svaasand, LO, Nelson, JS. Remote plethysmographic imaging using ambient light. Optics Express. 16:21434-1-12, 2008.

Milanic, M, Majaron, B, Nelson, JS. Spectral filtering for improved pulsed photothermal temperature profiling in agar tissue phantoms. J. Biomed. Optics 13: 064002, 2008.

Bae, Y, Nelson, JS, Jung, B. Multimodal facial color imaging modality for objective analysis of skin lesions. J. Biomed. Optics 13: 064007, 2008.

Verkruysse, W, Svaasand, LO, Franco, W, Nelson, JS. Remittance at a single wavelength of 390 nm to quantify epidermal melanin concentration. J. Biomed. Optics 14: 014005, 2009.

Avram, MM, Tope, WD, Yu, T, Szachowicz, E, Nelson, JS. Hypertrophic scarring of the neck following ablative fractional carbon dioxide laser resurfacing. Lasers Surg. Med. 41:185-188, 2009.

Izikson, L, Nelson, JS, Anderson, RR. Treatment of hypertrophic and resistant port wine stains with a 755 nm laser: A case series of 20 patients. Lasers Surg. Med. 41:427-432, 2009.
National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Diseases, NIH Number: AR47551 Title: Mid-Career Investigator in Patient-Oriented Research
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, NIH Number: EB002495 Title: Optical Doppler Tomography of Human Skin Role: Principal Investigator
Professional Societies
President, American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, 2001-2002
Secretary, American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, 2006 to Present
Editor-in-Chief, Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 2005 to Present
International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies (ISSVA)
Graduate Programs

Research Centers
Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic
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