The current scientific interests of our group focus on not only development of multimodal imaging systems based on optical and high-frequency ultrasound imaging techniques but also development of mobile healthcare systems. In particular, our current research includes three major topics: 1) Development of multimodal imaging systems; 2) Development of wearable healthcare systems and the associated biomedical signal processing techniques; 3) Development of novel high-frequency ultrasound microbeam techniques. Their main applications are personalized-healthcare, the early detection of various diseases, biophysical engineering, and etc.
1. Mobile Health Care Systems
We are currently working on development of various mobile healthcare systems including smartphone-based mobile multispectral imaging systems and wearable fitness systems. In particular, the smartphone-based mobile multispectral imaging systems is employed to detect various skin lesions quantitatively, thus offering better diagnostic outcomes. Also, we are collaborating with Seoul National University for development of wearable cardiopulmonary fitness systems as a participant institute in Samsung Science & Technology Foundation.
2. High frequency ultrasound
The mechanical properties of living cells such as elasticity are highly relevant to the structural and molecular alterations induced by progression of diseases or by invasion of foreign organisms. Therefore, identification of the alternations of cells’ mechanical properties can be crucial to develop a complete knowledge of disease progression. Thus, we will have been developing multimodal imaging and analysis technologies, including a high-frequency acoustic radiation force impulse imaging and analysis method via photoacoustic detection, to probe mechanical properties of cells. In addition to the development of these technologies, we believe that it is highly important to explore biological applications of the developed imaging and analysis technologies. Thus, I will employ these technologies to measure mechanical properties of cancer cells for determination of invasiveness of cancer cells as well as for better understanding of molecular and biophysical mechanisms in the transformation of cancer cells from indolent to invasive phenotype.
3. Multimodal imaging and analysis
Our main application of the multimodal imaging and analysis technologies is cancer research. Thus, our short-term goal in cancer research is to build a translational multimodal endoscopic imaging and analysis tool which offers high-frequency ultrasound, spectral, confocal, and stereoscopic 3D imaging for detection and characterization of tumor lesions with enhanced image contrast and high specificity. Its application fields will range from gastrointestinal to ovarian cancer. We built a preclinical multimode optical imaging and analysis system capable of fluorescence intensity, lifetime, spectral, 2-photon, and confocal imaging, for small animals. In addition, we have utilized the multimode optical imaging and analysis system to assess novel nanoparticles for both breast tumor detection and treatment during my postdoctoral period. Currently, we are combining high-frequency ultrasound and multiple optical imaging and analysis technologies in order to determine metastatic potentials of breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. For the last several years, various multimodal imaging and analysis tools have emerged and also gained great attention in the biomedical imaging field. However, the development of innovative imaging and analysis tools, which are capable of being translated into the clinic with high sensitivity and specificity, is still needed for better cancer detection and characterization. Therefore, with my unique and extensive experience, knowledge, and technologies, we will build an innovative multimodal endoscopic imaging and analysis tool which can be rapidly translated into the clinic. I believe that the tool will offer complementary information in the detection of tumor lesions, and thus has the potential to be a decision-making tool for cancer detection with high accuracy.