Dissertation Defense Announcement
The Herff College of Engineering announces the Final Dissertation of
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
on March 26, 2018 at 1:30 PM in Engineering Technology Building, Room 238
Advisor: Prabhakar Pradhan
Mesoscopic Light Scattering Approach for Structural Disorder Analysis of Biological Cells: Application in Cancer Diagnostics
ABSTRACT: Unprecedented insight into the physical properties of biological cells can be gained through light transport and localization of such weakly disordered mesoscopic optical media. It is well known that the genesis and progression of such diseases as cancer are accompanied by structural changes in the building blocks of cells. These alterations vary from nano- to submicron scale, and light can act as a probe for their detection, particularly in cancer cells. Therefore, in order to differentiate between normal and cancer cells, this dissertation explores their light scattering and localization properties. Two different mesoscopic optics-based techniques, partial wave spectroscopic microscopy (PWS) and inverse participation ratio (IPR), are implemented to respectively image and quantify the spatial structural disorder of cancer cells. The recently introduced PWS technique probes light scattering, and the IPR technique probes light localization. We used PWS and IPR to predict changes in structural disorder and thus differentiate normal from cancer cells in human breast, brain and prostate cell lines, as well as study drug resistance in human prostate cancer cells lines based on the quantification of structural disorder. Compared to normal cells, results showed higher structural disorder to be associated with cancer cells. Moreover, drug-resistant cancer cells showed an increase in structural disorder compared to drug-sensitive cancer cells. Taken together, this research gains unprecedented insight into the biological processes in cancer progression and therapeutic treatment, such as chemotherapy resistance, and investigates the potential of intracellular structural disorder as a physical biomarker of cancer.