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Rice-Led Team Wins $10M NSF Grant for Diagnostic Device Development

NEW YORK (360Dx) – The National Science Foundation has awarded a Rice University-led team $10 million to develop a bioimaging-based device for diagnosing and monitoring multiple different health conditions.

The team — which includes investigators from Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Cornell University — received the award through the NSF's Expeditions in Computing program.

With the funding, the investigators aim to develop a noninvasive, wearable vascular-monitoring device based on a novel imaging technology called computational photo-scatterography that interprets the scattered patterns of light that has passed through the body to enable cellular-level imaging.

The device is being developed to diagnose and monitor health conditions that currently require biopsies and/or blood tests, Rice said.

"Geoscientists use similar inverse techniques on seismic waves to resolve pictures of Earth's deep interior," Rice researcher and project co-investigator Ashok Veeraraghavan said in a statement. "Our task, in some ways, is even more complicated because the amount of light scattering that takes place in even a few millimeters of tissue far exceeds other problems."

According to Rice's Ashutosh Sabharwal, the project's principal investigator, the device could be used for a variety of medical applications such as white blood cell counting. "It's a platform technology that will be able spinoff into many products that can be used in the care of nearly 100 health conditions," he said in the statement.

Additional details about the project can be found here.