I completed my Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering (1999) at UPR Mayaguez. After working for three years in the US, went back to school and completed my PhD degree at MIT in Bioengineering in 2007. My graduate research focused in both optical instrumentation development and mechanics of protein interactions.
During my post-doc tenure in 2008-2010 with Prof. Moungi Bawendi at MIT, I developed a novel imaging device and imaging agent to guide cancer surgeries. We spun off the technology and founded Lumicell Diagnostics. We are starting clinical trials in humans during the Summer of 2012.
I established strong collaborations with surgeons at Duke University Medical Center, Mass General Hospital and researchers from MIT and Harvard.
The focus of my current project is to develop a hand-held imaging device and cancer-specific imaging agent to assist surgeons during cancer surgery. The system achieves single cell resolution and can detect residual cancer cells left in the patient after the initial tumor resection. The system will ensure that all the cancer cells are removed during surgery, reducing the rates of re-operation and the risks of local recurrence. Results from studies in a cancer model in mice with our collaborators at Duke are published by Mito, Ferrer, et al, "Intraoperative detection and removal of micrcoscopic residual sarcoma using wide-field imaging", Cancer, 2012.
The great success of the project help me raise venture capital funding to start Lumicell Diagnostics. I have written several SBIR proposals which have been funded by NCI (2 awards) and NSF (1 award).