Kristen Maitland: Photonics tackles the challenge of detecting oral cancer

Fluorescence lifetime imaging combines with reflectance confocal microscopy to distinguish between inflammation and precancerous tissue in the mouth.

14 April 2015

Kristen Maitland is associate professor and director of graduate programs in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on the development of optical instrumentation for improved detection and diagnosis of disease, primarily cancer and bacterial infection.

She received her bachelor and master of science degrees in electrical engineering from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, with a focus in optics and optical communications. She received her PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin as a research fellow in the NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program in cellular and molecular imaging for diagnostics and therapeutics. Her dissertation research was the design, development, and clinical testing of several fiber-optic confocal reflectance microscopes. Imaging probe configurations used single fibers or fiber bundle image guides, miniature glass or plastic objective lenses, and beam scanning at the proximal or distal (MEMS mirror) ends of the fibers.

Maitland performed clinical studies at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center on precancers of the cervix and oral cavity. Following her PhD, she worked at Lawrence LIvermore National Laboratory as a staff scientist, where she constructed a coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering spectrometer using a single laser as the pump beam and to pump a photonic crystal fiber to produce a broadband Stokes beam. Her current research interests include confocal microscopy along with other optical imaging and spectroscopy techniques for disease detection, diagnosis, and treatment; and endoscope and miniature optics development for improved access for in vivo applications.

She is a Senior Member of SPIE and IEEE, and serves on the SPIE Board of Directors.

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