Creating Biomedical Technologies to Improve Health

2018 BESIP Project

Section on Analytical and Functional Biophotonics, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Imaging, and Behavioral Development
Mentor Name: 
Amir Gandjbakhche, Ph.D.
Mentor Email: 
Mentor Telephone: 
Computational Bioscience and Engineering Laboratory
Mentor Name: 
Randall Pursley
Thomas Pohida #5
Mentor Telephone: 
(301) 435-5067

Laboratory and Project Description

Developing a Near-infrared Oximetry System to Monitor Anterior Positioned Placentas

Monitoring the vascular network binding the expectant mother to the fetus is critical to ensure a healthy pregnancy outcome. Placental perfusion and oxygenation play a vital role in both maternal and fetal health during pregnancy. Studies have shown that the anterior placenta has been correlated with adverse outcome such as hypertension, abruption, gestational diabetes and delivery complication.

We propose a non-invasive near-infrared spectroscopy system, which is capable of continuously monitoring the oxygenation and hemodynamics of the anterior placenta in a subject-friendly environment. Moreover, our spectroscopic technique can quantify the amount of water and therefore can be used to detect a possible placental abruption. At the initial stage of this project we will be prototyping and testing our system and conducting experiments on phantoms. We intend to design multiple source-detector pairs with different separation for optimal penetration depth to probe different vascular compartments of the womb on basis of different tissue properties.  The overall goal is a portable, low cost, patient-friendly system that will be able to monitor the pregnant mother from early stages of pregnancy to the delivery room and assess the metabolic state associated with oxygen and blood exchanges.

A summer project will focus on developing a functioning prototype system.  Experiments will be conducted on phantoms with regions of varying optical absorption level that simulate areas of different oxygen concentrations.  The project will touch on many engineering areas, such as: electrical circuit design, mechanical system design, software development, and the physics underlying near-infrared oximetry.

The BESIP student working on this project should have an interest in learning about medical imaging applications and working with prototype bioinstrumentation. Working closely with the interdisciplinary team, the intern will gain valuable hands-on experience with multiple procedures and technologies including optical properties of materials, optical sensors, process automation, data acquisition, circuit design, and software development.

Gandjbakhche lab: Ongoing projects in the laboratory are dedicated to devising quantitative methodologies and associated instrumentations to study biological phenomena at different length scales, from nanoscopy to microscopy and diffuse biophotonics.  Expertise includes light/matter interactions as sources of optical contrast (e.g. polarization, fluorescent labels, absorption and/or scattering).

Pursley group: Provides electrical, electronic, electro-optical, mechanical, computer, and software engineering expertise to NIH projects that require in-house technology development. Collaborations involve advanced signal transduction and data acquisition; real-time signal and image processing; control and monitoring systems (e.g., robotics and process automation); and rapid prototype development. Collaborations result in the design of first-of-a-kind biomedical/clinical research systems, instrumentation, and methodologies.