EE PhD Oral Examination - Thomas O'Sullivan, Wednesday, June 16, 2010; 10:00am

Tom O'Sullivan tdo at
Fri Jun 4 14:26:28 PDT 2010

Stanford  University  Ph.D. Oral Examination


Title: Implantable fluorescence sensor for continuous molecular monitoring in live animals


Thomas D. O'Sullivan

Department of Electrical Engineering

Research Advisor:  Prof. James S. Harris


Date:  Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Time: 10:00 am (Refreshments 9:45am)

Location:Clark  Center  Auditorium (below the patio)




Molecular imaging is an established technique used to visualize and 
quantify functional information about biological processes in living 
systems. Specifically, the ability to image fluorescence is a powerful 
tool considering the wealth of fluorescent probes/proteins that are used 
in drug discovery and therapeutic evaluation, in studying development 
and treatment of cancer, in tracking stem cell growth and proliferation 
in small animals. Fluorescence sensing is also an emerging technique for 
use in humans.

Current approaches to detect fluorescence in vivo rely on devices which 
use bulky instrumentation, generally requiring anesthetized animal 
models, and restrict sensing to discrete snapshots in time. Thus, there 
is need for continuous, long-term monitoring of fluorescent probes. In 
this talk, I present our design and fabrication of a miniaturized 
fluorescence sensor for direct implantation which enable continuous and 
long-term sensing in freely-moving subjects.

The monolithically-integrated, laser-based sensor incorporates the basic 
optical components of a fluorescence system for sensing Cy5.5 
fluorescent dye. I will discuss the materials and microfabrication 
challenges overcome to achieve the compact integration, as well as the 
device sensitivity to /in vitro/ and /in vivo/ concentrations of Cy5.5. 
I will present our efforts and the benefits of using the sensor to 
monitor the binding kinetics of a molecular probe in cancer tumors and 
will demonstrate continuous sensing with the sensor implanted in live mice.

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