John V. Frangioni, MD, PhD
Dr. Frangioni's laboratory applies first principles from chemistry and engineering to solving important clinical problems. For example, human cancer surgery is presently performed “blindly,” without image-guidance for those structures that need to be resected, such as tumors, or those structures that need to be avoided, such as nerves and blood vessels. Dr. Frangioni's laboratory has developed an intraoperative near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging system that provides the surgeon with safe, high-sensitivity, real-time image guidance during complex surgical procedures. The imaging system exploits the invisibility of NIR light to the human eye. Thus, it is possible to illuminate the surgical field, with NIR-depleted white light and NIR fluorescence excitation light, without changing its appearance. By further adding an exogenous NIR fluorophore targeted to the cell, tissue, or organ requiring visualization, it is possible to highlight the desired target with high sensitivity and specificity. In parallel with the development of the imaging system, Dr. Frangioni's laboratory is developing robust chemical strategies for the production of the next generation of small molecule, peptide, protein, and cell-based NIR fluorescent contrast agents, including NIR fluorescent quantum dots. The imaging system is presently being translated to the clinic for initial human studies. More information on his research can be found at www.frangionilab.org.