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The Washington Research Foundation Fellowship

John Chandler, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering, 2010-11 WRFF

John Chandler photoAs an undergraduate double majoring in Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering, I became interested in applying my coursework to many of the interesting engineering research problems I was being exposed to by my professors.  My first research opportunity came when I was hired as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in Professor Wei Li’s Materials Processing and Manufacturing Lab.  This position helped me to recognize my own research interests leading to my transition into Eric Seibel’s Human Photonics Lab (HPL) in the summer of 2009 for the CRANE Aerospace sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU).  Since joining the HPL, I have been able to pursue several research projects specifically related to my interests in the development and design of biomedical devices and instrumentation.  My research has focused on the evaluation and improvement of endoscopic procedures, particularly those which are used for early detection and surveillance of diseases such as cancer.  Currently, I am working on the development of a device capable of capturing endoscopic images of the entire inner surface of the bladder.  The images from this device can then be combined using software into a 3D structural mosaic of the bladder’s inner surface, to improve the quality of current bladder cancer screening diagnostics.  In order to continue my development as a researcher, I am currently applying to graduate school hoping to pursue a Ph.D. focusing on the application of engineering technology to medical devices.  I am grateful for support provided by the Washington Research Foundation Fellowship and the opportunity it provides to pursue this project throughout the year.  

Mentor: Eric Seibel, Mechanical Engineering

Project Title: Development of Automated Cystoscopy Tools to Achieve 3D Mosaicing of Bladder Urothelium

Abstract: Routine screening of high risk individuals by medical doctors through cystoscopy is standard clinical practice for the treatment and detection of bladder cancer. Regrettably, the current methodology for these procedures is imperfect and is one of the key contributing factors to bladder cancer being the most expensive cancer in the United States. New technology needs to be developed to improve the quality of bladder cancer screening with reduced cost per procedure. An automated bladder cancer screening system will be developed in the Human Photonics Laboratory, combining an automated cystoscopy tool, an endoscopic imaging device, and 3D mosaicing software. Automation of the bladder scanning process allows the procedure to be performed by any medical staff capable of inserting a cystoscope and the mosaicing software provides verification of a complete scan with diagnostic images available to clinicians after the procedure. These cystoscopy screening advancements would improve accuracy and precision of bladder cancer surveillance, while eliminating the need for a medical doctor to perform the procedure, significantly reducing procedural costs. My proposed research will lead the design and development of the automated cystoscopy tool, which will be used to insert and scan the imaging device inside the bladder to collect the necessary images for a full 3D mosaic. This research will be divided into three stages beginning first with the development of a simple cystoscopy tool to manually scan the bladder for mosaicing using a Scanning Fiber Endoscope (SFE) as the imaging device. Next, the insertion tool will be modified to work with an ACMI DUR-8 ureteroscope to demonstrate the commercial and clinical relevance of the proposed research. Finally, an automated image scanning process will be developed for the two tools to provide consistent and predictable image collection for the 3D mosaicing software.