FILM Surgery

Interventional Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging (iFLIM)

Led by Dr. Laura Marcu, TRD1 will technologically advance and integrate Interventional Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging (iFLIM) technology in clinical settings for real-time in-situ tissue diagnosis and guidance of surgical procedures. 

Intraoperative assessment of site-specific tissue properties relevant to intraoperative surgical decisions is limited.  iFLIM can potentially address this unmet need and improve surgical outcomes.  While basic principles of Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging (FLIM) technology are well-established and FLIM-based techniques are in use, FLIM has been employed in few clinical research studies and its clinical utility remains largely unexplored.

TRD1 has four specific aims, illustrated in the image below.  Aim 1 and Aim 2 advance iFLIM technology advancement and scalability (prototyping, standardization).  Aim 3 seeks synergistic integration of iFLIM with other optical imaging modalities for clinical use, and Aim 4 targets   intra-procedural workflow and database cluster creation. 

iflim specific aims


The iFLIM research in this TRD seeks to accomplish the following deliverables:

  • iFLIM detectors with significantly enhanced sensitivity (10-fold) and speed (5-to-10-fold)  compared to current technology
  • Innovative packaging strategies that will help in building a miniaturized (<1mm  x  1mm)  planar FLIM imaging platform (spectrometer-on-a-chip)
  • Double-clad fiber-based intraoperative probe/endomicroscope capable of multimodal  imaging  (iFLIM  and  OCT,  iFLIM  and  iDOS)
  • Standardization and integration of iFLIM devices into clinical workflow: FLIM-based biochemical/metabolic data complementary to other data streams (PET,  CT,  MRI) in  informing clinical decisions
  • Aggregated data for development of the analytical methods of TRD3 and distribution to the national scientific community
Project Scientist
  • Alba Alfonso-Garcia, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholars
  • Mohamed Hassan, Ph.D. 
  • Dinesh Jackson Samuel Ravindran Charles, Ph.D. 
  • Brent Weyers, Ph.D. 
  • Xiangnan Zhou, Ph.D. 
Graduate Students
  • Kelsey T Hadfield 
  • Silvia Noble Anbunesan 
  • Ankit Singh 
  • Cesar Bartolo-Perez 
  • Cheng-Yu Lee, UC Davis – JHU
  • Ahasan Ahamed 
Undergraduate Students
  • Kacie Sorfleet 
  • Alex Condon 


Collaborative Projects
  • Optical Imaging to Improve Surgery & Targeted Therapy in Brain Tumors
  • Full Field OCT for cellular level structural and functional retinal imaging
  • Perioperative diffuse optical imaging of tissue blood flow and oxygenation for optimization of mastectomy skin flap viability
  • In utero Repair of Fetal Myelomeningocele
  • Bimodal Intraoral imaging device for detection of oral epithelial neoplasia
Service Projects
  • Imaging Goggles for Fluorescence-Guided Surgery
  • iFLIM-based In vivo Evaluation of Thermal Injury by Cautery during Robotic Surgery Procedures
  • Navigated Neurosurgical Procedures via 3D Augmented iFLIM
Dr. Marcu GBSF 2212
Inspection of micro-optic for intravascular imaging devices (Dr. Marcu's 2212 GBSF lab)
Dr. Marcu GBSF 2212 Assembly of FLIM Device
Assembly of FLIm device for clinical use (Dr. Marcu's 2212 GBSF lab)
Dr. Marcu Bainer 1235a
Inspection clinical fiber probe (Dr. Marcu's clinical manufacturing space, Bainer 1235a lab)
Dr. Marcu's clinical research space, UC Health
FLIm clinical instrument (Dr. Marcu's clinical research space, UC Health)
Inano Islam Lab Characterizing quantum efficiency of APDs
Characterizing the quantum efficiency and gain of ultra-fast photon-trapping avalanche photodiodes (APDs) (Dr. Islam's Inano lab, Kemper Hall)
Dr. Islam Inano Lab Stress testing
Stress testing for operation under extreme conditions – highly sensitive photodiodes for FLIM systems (Dr. Islam's Inano lab, Kemper Hall)