Date of Award

Spring 6-9-2024

Document Type

Thesis (Master's)

Department or Program

Engineering Sciences

First Advisor

Eric R. Henderson

Second Advisor

Jonathan T. Elliott


Fluorescence-guided surgery (FGS) is a nascent field which seeks to improve patient safety and surgical outcomes using fluorescent agents known as fluorophores. Fluorophores are molecules which upon excitation with a specific wavelength of light emit a photon of a specific wavelength which can be detected using a modified camera system. Creation and translation of a fluorophore for clinical use is a costly, laborious, and time intensive process. Only a handful of fluorophores have received FDA approval and they required multiple years of tightly regulated clinical trials. Prior to these first-in-human studies these agents are subject to a litany of preclinical testing including various animal models to demonstrate efficacy. However, animal studies do not translate directly to human results and historically are difficult to replicate. Ex vivo human tissue in the form of surgical specimen destined for disposal represent a potential testing ground for translational agents prior to FDA trials. This allows for the testing and evaluation of fluorescent agents using human tissues prior to first-in-human studies. This could aid in lead agent selection and minimize costly trials with chemically similar agents. The goal of this work is to demonstrate an ex vivo human tissue model for the testing and validation of a nerve specific fluorophore prior to first-in-human FDA trials.