Research & Innovation

Negar Tavassolian’s Team Receives $256,000 NSF Grant to Engineer Cancer Imaging Device

This research will improve skin cancer detection and management

Negar Tavassolian, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recently received a grant of $256,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF), with Stevens' share being $88,000. She is partnering with lead Radiosight, LLC — a company formed by her former Ph.D. student based on a related technology developed in her lab — on the project "STTR Phase 1: Point-of-Care Skin Cancer Imaging Device,” for which she has also received a patent.

This Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) Phase I project is focused on developing a fully-integrated, ultra-wideband, millimeter-wave imaging system for the first time. This will be realized by employing the synthetic ultra-wideband imaging approach, where several disjointed, adjacent imaging sub-bands are integrated to collectively form an ultra-wide imaging bandwidth. This research will enable electronic beam-steering to be used for scanning target regions.

In addition, Tavassolian’s team proposes a novel method for tumor margin identification in 3D millimeter-wave images, which employs a-priori information about the statistical distribution of the dielectric properties of tissues. This will result in higher accuracy and a low computational cost. The ultra-wide bandwidth of the proposed imager will result in significantly higher image resolutions compared to the state-of-the-art millimeter-wave imaging technology.

“We aim to develop a handheld, affordable imaging device that offers large contrasts between normal, malignant, and benign tissues,” said Tavassolian. “This device will significantly enhance the current state of skin cancer detection and management.”