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Thayer prof. named OSA fellow

Feb 07, 2013   |   by Brian Chalif   |   The Dartmouth

Professor Brian Pogue

With 20 ongoing research projects at any given time, professor Brian Pogue’s bustling research lab in the Thayer School of Engineering develops optics and lasers to improve cancer detection and treatment. Pogue was one of 72 fellows elected to the Optical Society of America, awarded to the organization’s members who have played a role in advancing the field.

Pogue’s research focuses on improving cancer screening using medical imaging technology in order to facilitate early diagnosis and treatment. The lab, funded primarily by the American Cancer Society, aims to help diagnose cancer in its early stages to extend and improve patients’ quality of life, Pogue said.

Pogue runs one of the largest labs at Thayer, and, as the principal investigator on all of the lab’s research, works with other professors, research scientists, PhD students and undergraduate students. While PhD students perform research for their own projects, Pogue is involved in every study by brainstorming strategies and supervising the lab.

In addition to developing optic and laser technology for early stage cancer diagnosis, Pogue supervises projects that further enhance cancer screening.

Kristian Sexton, a PhD student in Pogue’s lab, researches fluorescence guided surgical systems. Because it may be difficult to differentiate between cancerous and healthy cells, his study aims to develop a way to light up tumor cells when they are exposed to fluorescent light. This process is analogous to using a black light to illuminate certain properties on surfaces, Sexton said. When fully developed, the technology will allow surgeons to differentiate between cells more easily during surgery.

Sexton has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, and appreciates the chance to collaborate with diverse students in Thayer.

“One of the unique things about [Pogue’s] lab and the whole Thayer School is you have a lot of people from different backgrounds.” Sexton said. “The projects are very interdisciplinary, that is one of the great things about working in this field.”

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