News Archive


  • Congratulations to Marlee Junker. Ms. Junker was recently promoted to Research Analyst II in BME.
  • Amy Frees, of the TOpS Lab, has been selected to the 2010 John T. Chambers Fellowship and the W.H. Gardner Jr., Society of Engineering Fellowship. These awards consist of a twelve-month fellowship stipend with an additional allowance to be used toward tuition and fees. Congratulations, Amy!
  • Jenna Mueller, of the TOpS Lab, has been selected to receive the 2010 McChesney Fellowship in Biomedical Engineering. This award consists of a twelve-month fellowship stipend with an additional allowance to be used toward the purchase of a computer and other supplies relevant to Jenna's research. Congratulations, Jenna!
  • Dr. Bing Yu's poster, titled "Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy with a Self-Calibrating Fiber Optic Probe", was selected for the Best Poster Award by 2009 ECI conference: the Advances in Optics for Biotechnology, Medicine and Surgery XI Clinical Challenges and Research Solutions, June 28 - July 2, 2009, Burlington, Vermont, USA
  • Dr. Bing Yu, Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, was awarded a two-year R03 grant, entitled " A smart fiber optic sensor for in vivo tissue optical spectroscopy," by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. The long term objective of this project is to develop a portable, easy-to-use and low cost optical device that can aid in the screening and diagnosis of oral and cervical cancer in low-resource settings. Dr. Nimmi Ramanujam is a collaborator on the project.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Bing Yu. Dr. Yu was recently promoted to Assistant Research Professor in BME.


  • Dr. Karthik Vishwanath, research scientist in the Ramanujam lab was awarded a K99 award entitled, "Can Optical Spectroscopy Predict Early Treatment and Response in Solid Tumors," from the National Cancer Institute. The main goal of this project is to detect longitudinal changes in physiological biomarkers in vivo using fiber-based optical spectroscopy techniques. The optical endpoints will be optimized to serve as early predictors of treatment response in solid head and neck tumors that are undergoing radiation and/or chemotherapy. Profs. Nimmi Ramanujam and Mark Dewhirst serve as mentors on the project.
  • Dr. Melissa Skala and Dr. Nimmi Ramanujam's recently published a book chapter in Advanced Protocols in Oxidative Stress. The chapter, “Multiphoton Redox Ratio Imaging for Metabolic Monitoring in vivo”, earned the cover of the book. The link to the publication and cover are below.
    - MC Skala and N Ramanujam. “Multiphoton Redox Ratio Imaging for Metabolic Monitoring in vivo” in Advanced Protocols in Oxidative Stress. Ed. D Armstrong, In press.
    - Book cover
  • The NIH awarded Endls Optics, a Duke spin-off founded by Nimmi Ramanujam, a phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant for $1,169,574.  This two-year collaborative project between Endls Optics and Duke aims to develop a clinical-trial-ready device and to evaluate its practical utility as a routinely used intra-operative tool.
  • In September of this year, Associate Professor Nimmi Ramanujam was awarded a second Era of Hope award for $2,794,175.  Dr. Ramanujam will collaborate with Rebecca Richards-Kortum and Rebekah Drezek of Rice University on this five-year project.  The Duke collaborators are Mark W. Dewhirst (Radiation Oncology), Lee Wilke (Surgery), Joseph Geradts (Pathology), Gretchen Kimmick (Oncology) and William Barry (Biostatistics and Bioinformatics). The primary objective of this proposal is to exploit the wealth of physiological, metabolic, morphological and molecular sources of optical contrast to develop novel strategies that focus on two breast cancer applications: tumor margin assessment and prediction of response to neo-adjuvant therapy.
  • Dr. Ramanujam's project on Intraoperative Assessment of Tumor Margins in Patients with Breast Cancer was featured in the DTMI's (Duke Translational Medicine Institute) annual report. The article highlights how Dr. Ramanujam is working to develop tools that use light to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of breast cancer therapy. For the entire report click on the following link.
  • Congratulations to Lisa Richards, Daniel Klein and Jessica Munn. Lisa was accepted into Biomedical Engineering graduate program at the University of Texas. Daniel and Jessica, Pratt Fellows of the Ramanujam Laboratory, graduated from the Duke Biomedical Engineering undergraduate program in May of this year. We wish them the success with all of their future endeavors.
  • ABC News featured new technology for breast cancer by Professor Nimmi Ramanujam of the Biomedical Engineering Department, Duke University and other Duke clinical collaborators* on Monday, December 15, 2008.  The device demonstrated on the broadcast is able to alert the surgeon during the surgery whether more suspect tissue needs to be removed which helps prevent patients from undergoing multiple breast cancer surgeries. Collaborators on the project are listed below. To see the video, click on the following link.

    *Duke Clinical Collaborators:
    Dr. Lee Wilke of Surgery
    Dr. Joseph Geradts of Pathology
    Dr. William Barry of Biostatistics and Informatics
    Jennifer Gallagher

    Professor Nimmi Ramanujam's Biomedical Engineering Team:
    Dr. Quincy Brown
    Dr. Bing Yu
    Stephanie Kennedy
    Torre Bydlon
    Jessica Munn
    Lisa Richards
    Marlee Junker


  • Dr. Bing Yu has been selected as a recipient of a 2008 Duke University Postdoctoral Research Award. While many outstanding applications were received, the awards committee felt that Dr. Yu's proposal was one that best explained how this award would enhance his professional growth. A poster announcing the award winners will be displayed at the Spring Fling this Friday, May 9, from 4-6 pm at the French Science Center. Dr. Yu will receive $1,000 for his research activities.


  • The Carolinas Photonics Consortium (CPC) has selected BME post doctoral researcher Quincy Brown to receive $10,000 in seed funding for Endls Optics, the Duke spinoff company developing technology to measure the removal of breast tumors during breast conserving surgery.  Associate BME Professor Nimmi Ramanujam leads the project. Brown received a Duke Cancer Center Young Investigator Award earlier this year.
  • In September of this year, The NIH awarded BME post doctoral researcher Bing Yu and associate BME professor Nimmi Ramanujam with a phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant. This will be a collaborative project between Endls Optics and Duke University. The research will focus on technology development and optical surveillance of surgical tumor margins in patients undergoing breast conserving surgery for cancer.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Changfang Zhu of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Dr. Zhu successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis on September 13th of this year. Her new position is with Boston Scientific.
  • Lisa Richards and Laura Moore, from the TOpS Lab, recently won a YouTube competition, sponsored by the Task Force on the Future of American Innovation. Students were asked to complete a 3 minute video highlighting federally funded scientific discoveries. They were awarded $1,000 for first place. Their video is titled, "Shedding Light on Breast Cancer." They are now competing for the national competition. We wish you luck!

    See their video, "Shedding Light on Breast Cancer" here:

    See an article from The Chronicle Online here:

  • Congratulations to Dr. Melissa Skala of the Ramanujam Laboratory. On April 25th, Dr. Skala successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis. She has researched with the Ramanujam Laboratory since 2002. She will continue post doctoral research with Joseph Izatt, also of the Duke Biomedical Engineering Department.
  • Congratulations to Emily Spataro, Christine McMahon and Hafeez Dhalla of the Ramanujam Laboratory. Ms. Spataro, Ms. McMahon and Mr. Dhalla all graduated from the Biomedical Engineering undergraduate program this year. We wish them the success with all of their future endeavors.
  • MD/PhD candidate Gabriel Howles from BME, MEM candidate Charles Louison and three Fuqua MBA students won the elevator pitch and placed in the top 10 in a Rice University business plan competition this past March. The venture, called Spectrum Diagnostics, is based on a breast cancer margin assessment device developed in the lab of Associate BME Professor Nimmi Ramanujam. Thirty-six teams from across the nation were selected to compete in the annual competition.
  • In February of this year, associate BME professor Nimmi Ramanujam received a one year Duke Translational Research Institute award. This project will focus on optical surveillance of surgical tumor margins in patients undergoing breast conserving surgery for cancer. Lee Wilke, assistant professor of surgery; and Joseph Geradts, professor of pathology are both collaborators on the project.
  • The Duke Start-Up Challenge held its finals Saturday and Pratt did very well, with start-up teams with our faculty members taking first and second place. The winner was the "Oncoscope" team, which includes BME Assistant Professor Adam Wax, BME research scientist William Brown, BME Ph.D. student John Pyhtila and Master of Engineering Management student Sylvain Hanssen. They are developing optical biopsy systems and won $25,000. Oncoscope also picked up $5,000 for winning the Healthcare/Life Sciences Track. Runner up and $10,000 went to the "Spectrum Surgical" team, which includes BME Associate Professor Nimmi Ramanujam and BME Ph.D. student Gabriel Howles. They hope to market a breast cancer margin assessment device.
  • J.Quincy Brown, a postdoctoral associate working for Ramanujam, was chosen recently as a recipient of a 2007 Duke Cancer Center Young Investigator Award. As part of the award, Brown was selected to present his work on assessment of breast physiology with optical biopsy at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center Annual Meeting.
  • Melissa Skala, J. Quincy Brown, Stacy Millon and Bing Yu will present posters at the annual ECI conference in June of this year. This year the conference will be held in Naples, FL.


  • Duke spin out, Illuminus and Duke University has won a $47,300 award from NCIDEA to pursue business development of a breast cancer diagnostics technology developed at Duke. The technology is an optical assay system for intra-operative assessment of breast tumor margins. Clinical trials at Duke University to test this technology intra-operatively are separately funded by the Coulter Foundation Translational Partnership award. Team members, Associate Professor, Nimmi Ramanujam (project manager), , Assistant Professor of Surgery, Lee Wilke, Business Strategist, Melda Uzbil, and Senior Associate Dean for Industrial Partnerships and Research Commercialization, Barry Myers will pursue market research, regulatory, reimbursement and pricing strategies for this technology.
  • Associate BME professor Nimmi Ramanujam has received a two-year, $275,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop novel, non-invasive fiber optic probes to detect depth-resolved fluorescence from epithelial tissues such as the skin, cervix and the oral cavity. These probes will provide increased depth-sensitivity to epithelial tissues, thereby increasing the sensitivity and specificity of optically based diagnosis of epithelial pre-cancers.
  • J. Quincy Brown, a postdoctoral associate working for Ramanujam, has been awarded an NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellowship from the National Cancer Institute for his project entitled "Multi-label molecular FLIM of breast cancer". Mark Dewhirst, professor of radiation oncology, is a co-mentor on the project. The objective of the research is to use fluorescence lifetime imaging as a tool for optical molecular imaging of receptor status and enzyme expression in breast carcinomas.
  • Nimmi Ramanujam, associate professor of biomedical engineering; Lee Wilke, assistant professor of surgery; and Joseph Geradts, professor of pathology, have received a one year, $100,000 Coulter grant to develop a new light-based technology for use during breast tumor lumpectomy surgery. The technology provides a way to assess the borders of the lumpectomy specimens in order to make sure the cancerous tissue has been completely removed.