Department of Bioengineering
Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology
Despite recent developments in both detection and clinical management of cancer, it is still the leading cause of death in the developed countries, including the United States. Over the years, multiple imaging modalities have been developed to diagnose and stage cancer patients; however, only two imaging techniques (ultrasound and X-ray fluoroscopy) are commonly utilized intraoperatively. Both techniques have apparent limitations, but most importantly, neither technique is amenable to targeted contrast agents, which not only provide information on the biology of the disease, but also can be used to assess the response to treatment, a requirement for individualized therapy regimes. Near-infrared (NIR) light and hybrid nuclear PET-CT imaging offers several significant advantages over currently available techniques. Hybrid PET-CT imaging allows for in vivo 3D imaging of both anatomy (X-ray CT) and expression of specific cellular biomarkers of disease, including cancer (with targeted PET imaging), with practically unlimited tissue depth penetration, high sensitivity, and availability of targeted imaging probes, whereas NIR offers simultaneous multiple probe imaging, relatively good photon penetration, and low tissue autofluorescence, resulting in a high signal-to-background ratio.
The Experimental Molecular Imaging Laboratory (EMIL) directed by Prof. Dobrucki develops multimodal targeted imaging probes for intraoperative assessment of tumor activity and tumor vasculature using in vivo PET-CT and optical imaging. We are seeking collaborations to translate these probes to oncologic exploratory and resection surgeries using novel 3D virtual environments developed in partnership with the Illinois Simulator Laboratory (ISL) directed by Dr. Hank Kaczmarski.
Wawrzyniec Lawrence Dobrucki is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and holds a full-time faculty position at the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology. His expertise is in preclinical molecular multimodality imaging, and his fields of professional interest include development of novel targeted microSPECT/PET-CT imaging strategies to assess myocardial, peripheral, and tumor-associated angiogenesis, arteriogenesis, and atherosclerosis in animal models of disease, including diabetes; standardization of small animal imaging protocols; and development and validation of novel SPECT/PET radiotracers and CT contrast agents to noninvasively evaluate novel therapies.
Prof. Dobrucki received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Ohio University, Athens, OH, in 2003, and his M.Sc. degree in Bioengineering from the Technical University of Wroclaw, Poland and the Technical University of Hamburg, Germany. Prior to joining the Department of Bioengineering as tenure-track faculty in Fall 2013, Prof. Dobrucki was a junior faculty member at the Yale University School of Medicine and Senior Research Scientist at the Beckman Institute, where he directed the Molecular Imaging Laboratory (MIL) in the Biomedical Imaging Center (BIC).