All Thayer Events

PhD Thesis Defense: Samuel Streeter



9:00am - 11:00am ET

Williamson 571W/Online

For optional Zoom link email

"Advancing combined radiological and optical scanning for breast-conserving surgery margin guidance"


Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide, and standard-of-care for early-stage disease typically involves a lumpectomy or breast-conserving surgery (BCS). BCS involves the local resection of cancerous tissue, while sparring as much healthy tissue as possible. State-of-the-art methods for intraoperatively evaluating BCS margins are limited. Approximately 20% of BCS cases result in a tissue resection with cancer at or near the resection surface (i.e., a positive margin). A two-fold increase in ipsilateral breast cancer recurrence is associated with the presence of one or more positive margins. Consequently, positive margins often necessitate costly re-excision procedures to achieve a curative outcome. X-ray micro-computed tomography (CT) is emerging as a powerful ex vivo specimen imaging technology, as it provides robust three-dimensional sensing of tumor morphology rapidly. However, X-ray attenuation lacks contrast between soft tissues that are important for surgical decision making during BCS. Optical structured light imaging, including spatial frequency domain imaging and active line scan imaging, can act as adjuvant tools to complement micro-CT, providing wide field-of-view, non-contact sensing of relevant breast tissue subtypes on resection margins that cannot be differentiated by micro-CT alone.

This thesis is dedicated to multimodal imaging of BCS tissues to ultimately improve intraoperative BCS margin assessment, reducing the number of positive margins after initial surgeries and thereby reducing the need for costly follow-up procedures. Volumetric sensing of micro-CT is combined with surface-weighted, sub-diffuse optical reflectance derived from high spatial frequency structured light imaging. Sub-diffuse reflectance plays the key role of providing enhanced contrast to a suite of normal, abnormal benign, and malignant breast tissue subtypes. This finding is corroborated through clinical studies imaging BCS specimen slices post-operatively and is further investigated through an observational clinical trial focused on combined, intraoperative micro-CT and optical imaging of whole, freshly resected BCS tumors. The central thesis of this work is that combining volumetric X-ray imaging and sub-diffuse optical scanning provides a synergistic multimodal imaging solution to margin assessment, one that can be readily implemented or retrofitted in X-ray specimen imaging systems and that could meaningfully improve surgical guidance during initial BCS procedures.

Thesis Committee

  • Brian W. Pogue (Chairman, co-advisor)
  • Keith D. Paulsen (Co-advisor)
  • Michael Jermyn
  • Wendy A. Wells
  • Richard J. Barth
  • Lee G. Wilke (U Wisconsin)


For more information, contact Theresa Fuller at