Probing the Micromechanics of Cancer in Living Subjects

Friday, February 8, 2013 - 2:00pm
Fung Auditorium | Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall
Bryan Smith, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Radiology
Stanford University

Probing the Micromechanics of Cancer in Living Subjects


Dr. Smith’s interdisciplinary research focuses on imaging disease at the nano- to microscale in living subjects tightly integrated with computational techniques in order to solve complex biomedical problems. At the nexus of nanobioengineering, cell mechanics, and molecular imaging, Dr. Smith's work converges toward developing novel approaches to image and treat cancer. He develops and applies optical imaging tools to unravel the physical properties of cancer in the context of live animals using an engineering perspective. Dr. Smith exploits molecular imaging strategies to advance two major research themes: 1) optimization of nanoparticle formulations and 2) understanding cancer mechanics in vivo. Specifically, Dr. Smith integrates cutting edge intravital microscopy instrumentation with computational simulations to understand how nanoparticles target cancer in order to generate mathematically optimal nanoparticle formulations for efficient delivery in cancer imaging and therapy. Secondly, the emerging clinical promise of cancer mechanics is hindered by a lack of tools to study it where it has the most meaning – in living subjects. Dr. Smith is therefore developing a variety of non-invasive approaches to study the microscale mechanics of cancer cells in living subjects. These methods are ultimately designed to lead to paradigm-shifting new ways to image and treat cancer.


After receiving his Bachelors degree in Physics, Mathematics, and Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University, Bryan Smith completed his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering as an NSF pre-doctoral IGERT Fellow at The Ohio State University. While at Ohio State, he worked in biomedical nanotechnology and molecular imaging to develop novel contrast agents and strategies for the early detection of cancer and atherosclerotic disease. Dr. Smith moved to Stanford University for his post-doctoral work, where he was awarded a Stanford Molecular Imaging Scholar NIH Fellowship and received a prestigious Stanford Dean's Fellowship. Dr. Smith was recently granted a K99/R00 award for his work involving the integration of animal experiments with computer simulations to optimize nanoparticle design for cancer imaging and therapy.