Rohit Bhargava, Ph.D.
Professor of Bioengineering
Director of the Cancer Center
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
In biomedical sciences, stains and human examination of morphology are used to Inform many research and clinical decisions. An alternative is emerging in which the intrinsic chemical content of tissue is used to provide contrast in images. This approach utilizes infrared spectroscopy to record the chemical data and computational methods to visualize information within. This knowledge can be parsed by computer programs - making the approach entirely digital and with extensive contrast in a single imaging measurement. We first describe the current state of the technology and its capabilities. Using artificial intelligence for knowledge extraction, a very powerful modality emerges in which a single recording of data from unperturbed samples can be related to a variety of pathophysiologic states. For cancer pathology, both tumor and microenvironment characteristics (molecular and spatial) can measured at the same time. This opens new opportunities for insight into disease progression that considers the entire tissue as an integrated system. Designed instrumentation, numerical methods, samples and statistics all play inter-related roles in the quality of information obtained. We present case studies of rapid analysis of samples for cancer pathology, in which practical technologies that can be useful for clinical diagnoses and research are becoming apparent. Finally, we describe the synergy of measurement technology and machine learning to provide examples of better and easier disease diagnoses.
Rohit Bhargava is a Professor of bioengineering and serves as the Director of the Cancer Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rohit graduated with a dual-degree B.Tech. (1996) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and received a doctoral degree from Case Western Reserve University (2000). After a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, he has been at Illinois as Assistant (2005-2011), Associate (2011-2012) and Full (2012-) Professor. Rohit is widely recognized for his research on chemical imaging and advances in theory, instrumentation, and applications in cancer pathology. He has helped set up the Department of Bioengineering as its first external hire at Illinois and is known for his innovative teaching (including an NIH T32 grant on the tumor microenvironment). He founded and continues to lead the Cancer Center at Illinois (CCIL) - a basic science center at the convergence of technology, engineering and oncology. He is a fellow of scientific societies including, AAAS, AIMBE, Optica and Society for Applied Spectroscopy, with recent recognitions including the Lippincott Award (2021) and the Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Award (2022).