NOTE: LIVE WEBCAST OF THIS EVENT IS NOT AVAILABLE.
Advances in the biosciences are responsible for dramatic gains in life expectancy achieved over the last century. Yet, the majority of the world has not benefited from this progress. Sustainable and scalable innovations to improve healthcare in low-resource settings are needed. Advances in optical technologies, molecular recognition, and low power sensors now offer the ability to design low-cost platforms for point- of-care (POC) diagnostics. Efforts to integrate molecular imaging together with miniature microscopes are now yielding new POC diagnostics for infectious and chronic diseases. Driven by advances in consumer electronics, high resolution imaging can be obtained with low cost devices; advances in digital signal processing provide the ability to automate analysis. We are using this technology to improve early detection of cervical, esophageal, colon, breast, and oral cancer; clinical trials are underway in Houston, India, Botswana, China, and Guatemala. This same technology is being used to create microfluidic technologies for diagnosis of infectious diseases at the POC, including inexpensive tools to determine HIV viral load.
Dr. Richards-Kortum Research Interest:
For two decades, Rebecca Richards-Kortum has focused on translating research that integrates advances in nanotechnology and molecular imaging with microfabrication technologies to develop optical imaging systems that are inexpensive, portable, and provide point-of-care diagnosis. This basic and translational research is highly collaborative and has led to new technologies to improve the early detection of cancers and other diseases, especially in impoverished settings. Richards-Kortum’s research has led to the development of 26 patents. She is author of the textbook Biomedical Engineering for Global Health published by Cambridge University Press (2010), more than 230 refereed research papers and 11 book chapters. Her teaching programs, research and collaborations have been supported by generous grants from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Defense, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Whitaker Foundation, and the Virginia and L.E. Simmons Family Foundation. Richards- Kortum is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (2008), an inaugural member of the National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering for the National Institutes of Health (2002-2007). She is an elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2000), of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2008), and of the Biomedical Engineering Society (2008). She was named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Professor (2002) and received a Professor Renewal grant from HHMI (2006) to establish and expand the undergraduate education program Beyond Traditional Borders (BTB). The BTB program was chosen as a model program by Science magazine and won the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction (2012). Recently, Richards- Kortum was given the Celebrating Women in Science Award (2011) from BioHouston, Inc. and the Women Leaders in Medicine Award by the American Medical Student Association (2012).