Professor Guillermo Aguilar, with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UC Riverside, will be the guest speaker for the fall graduate seminar, from 2-3:20 p.m. Friday, Sept, 14, in COB1, Room 110.
For the past 18 years, I have conducted studies aimed at understanding how lasers can better assist the diagnoses or therapies of a variety of medical conditions. Originally, as I started my independent research career at UCI, I was interested in understanding how cryogenic sprays can be more effective at removing heat from skin during laser dermatologic therapies.
Then, when I moved to UCR and started the Laboratory of Transport Phenomena for Biomedical Applications (LTPBA), I expanded my scope and looked at feasible ways to improve transdermal drug delivery by taking advantage of the thermal and mechanical property changes of tissue induced by the rapid cooling provided by cryogenic sprays. In that realm, we looked at the application of CW lasers focused on thin topical fluid layers to generate multiple thermocavitation vapor bubbles which, upon their collapse, produce intense shockwaves capable of perforating the skin surface in a controlled manner. Today, a large portion of my research group is focused on developing a novel transparent polycrystalline Yttria-Stablized-Zirconia (YSZ) cranial implant (“window”) that enables life-long, non-invasive delivery and/or collection of laser light into and from shallow and deep brain tissue on demand, the so-called Window to the Brain (WttB).
In collaboration with other research groups at UCR, an YSZ implant has been successfully fabricated with current-activated powder-assisted densification (CAPAD) processing method. Waveguides have been written across millimeter-thick YSZ using femtosecond laser irradiation. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) and Laser Speckle Imaging (LSI) of YSZ implanted on a mouse model have shown that the transparent YSZ implant improves axial and lateral imaging resolution and light penetration depth into the brain. Porcine skin samples treated with Optical Clearing Agents (OCAs) using microneedles have already demonstrated significant optical clearing, which along with the YSZ implants, will enable more effective delivery and/or collection of laser light to/from the brain for diagnoses and/or treatment of TBI, brain cancer, and other brain pathologies.
A summary of these results as well as ongoing and future studies pertaining to this research thrust will be presented.