Novel Biophotonic Imaging Techniques for Assessing Women's Reproductive Health

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Drake, Tyler Kaine


Wax, Adam

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Even though women make up over half the population in the United States, medical advancements in areas of women's health have typically lagged behind the rest of the medical field. Specifically, two major threats to women's reproductive health include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and cervical cancer with accompanying human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. This dissertation presents the development and application of two novel optical imaging technologies aimed at improving these aspects of women's reproductive health.

The presented work details the instrumentation development of a probe-based, dual-modality optical imaging instrument, which uses simultaneous imaging of fluorimetry and multiplexed low coherence interferometry (mLCI) to measure in vivo microbicide gel thickness distributions. The study explores the optical performance of the device and provides proof of concept measurements on a calibration socket, tissue phantom, and in vivo human data. Once the instrument is fully characterized, it is applied in a clinical trial in which in vivo human vaginal gel thickness distributions. The gel distribution data obtained by the modalities are compared in order to assess the ability of mLCI making accurate in vivo measurements. Differences between the fluorimetry and mLCI modalities are then exploited in order to show a methodology for calculating the extent of microbicide gel dilution with the dual-modality instrument data.

Limitations in cervical cancer screening are then addressed as angle-resolved low coherence interferometry (a/LCI) is used in an ex vivo pilot study to assess the feasibility of a/LCI in identifying dysplasia in cervical tissues. The study found that the average nuclear diameter found by a/LCI in the basal layer of ectocervical epithelium showed a statistically significant increase in size in dysplastic tissue. These results indicate that a/LCI is capable of identifying cervical dysplasia in ectocervical epithelium. The results of the work presented in this dissertation show that dual-modality optical imaging with fluorimetry and mLCI, and the a/LCI technique show promise in advancing technologies that are used in the field of women's reproductive health.





Drake, Tyler Kaine (2013). Novel Biophotonic Imaging Techniques for Assessing Women's Reproductive Health. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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