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PhD Thesis Proposal: Brook Byrd



9:00am - 10:00am ET


For info on how to attend this videoconference, please email

"Advancing fluorescent contrast agent recovery methods for surgical guidance applications"


As an accessible and non-ionizing imaging modality, fluorescence imaging has played an integral part in surgical guidance, drug discovery, disease modeling, therapeutic targeting advancements, and contrast agent development. The scope of this thesis focuses on novel fluorescence imaging devices, techniques, and contrast agents which could improve specific surgical challenges such as breast cancer margin assessment, brain angiography, and glioma resection guidance. While conventional wide field fluorescence imaging is typically limited to the top few millimeters, we’ve investigated ways to recover deeper fluorescence signals, including second window infrared (SWIR/NIR-II) imaging and 3D whole-animal cryo-imaging.

Through phantom, preclinical, and clinical SWIR imaging, we were able to:

  1. validate the capability of SWIR imaging with conventional NIR-I fluorophores,
  2. demonstrate the translational benefits of SWIR-ICG angiography in a large animal model, and
  3. detect micro-dose levels of an EGFR-targeted NIR-I probe during a Phase 0 Head and Neck clinical trial.

Moving towards full 3D fluorescence imaging, the crux of this thesis lays on the development of a hyperspectral cryo-imaging system and image-processing techniques to accurately recapitulate 3D biodistributions in whole-animal experiments. Specifically, the goal is to correct each cryo-imaging dataset such that it becomes a useful reporter for full-body uptake distributions in relevant disease models. With such data-rich, 3D information and the capability to co-register Cryo, MRI, and pathology data, we are able to better illuminate the performance of different fluorescent contrast agents, drug delivery mechanisms, and numerous other biological phenomena for translational benefit.

Thesis Committee

  • Scott Davis (Chair)
  • Brian Pogue
  • Kimberley Samkoe
  • Xiaoyao Fan
  • Mark Niedre (external)


For more information, contact Theresa Fuller at