University of California, Riverside

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Shedding light on disease with fluorescence diffuse optical tomography

Shedding light on disease with fluorescence diffuse optical tomography
Anand Kumar
Massachusetts General Hospital

Date: Friday, March 9, 2007
Time: 11:00am
Location: A265 Bourns Hall

Recent advances in the engineering of fluorescent bio-markers have enabled specific labeling of tumors, other disease targets, and elementary molecular events in vivo. Imaging fluorophores within an intact biological organism is made possible with advances in optical detection technology and the low attenuation of light, in the near-infra-red wavelength region, in biological tissue. This talk will outline the application of a novel approach – lifetime-based tomography – for whole-body small animal imaging. Lifetime-based tomography is a natural extension of fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) microscopy techniques to turbid tissue. It allows the recovery of deeply embedded targets, which are un-resolvable using standard approaches that employ steady-state or frequency-modulated excitation. This technique will be demonstrated on mouse-shaped phantoms using an optical molecular imaging system developed at MGH. The key features of the system are free-space excitation using ultra-short laser pulses and non-contact detection using a gated, intensified CCD camera. The application of this technique for the in-vivo imaging of transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease will be discussed.

About the speaker:

Dr. Anand Kumar’s broad research interest is in optical spectroscopy and imaging of biological media, from the microscopic to macroscopic length scales. He received an M.Sc. degree in Physics in 1993 from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai (Madras) India, and a Ph.D. degree in Physics in 2000 from Northeastern University in Boston.

Dr. Kumar’s Ph.D. thesis concerned the study of bio-physical mechanisms behind heme-protein function, as revealed through femtosecond laser spectroscopy. An outcome of Dr. Kumar’s thesis research was a novel approach that provided new physical insights into the fundamental physical processes underlying short laser pulse interaction with complex molecular systems. This approach also allowed dramatically improved computational efficiency over conventional methods. In 2001, Dr. Kumar joined Sycamore Networks as a Senior Optical Engineer and worked on modeling WDM light transmission through fiber optic networks. Due to his interest in pursuing a career in biomedical imaging, Dr. Kumar shifted to Massachusetts General Hospital in 2002, to work as a research fellow at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging.  He currently applies his extensive research experience with lasers, optics and biophysics to explore fluorescence imaging as a potential tool for drug discovery in small-animal disease models and for non-invasive diagnostics in humans.
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