Michigan State University, MI, USA
“Implantable, Insertable and Wearable Micro-optical Devices for Early Detection of Cancer”
Current technologies for the detection of cancer lack the sensitivity for early detection at times when therapy would be most effective, and cannot detect minimal residual disease that persists after conventional therapies. Therefore, it will be necessary to develop image-guided approaches for multiplexed molecular characterization of cancer and methods to visualize small numbers of cancer initiating cells.
Dr. Contag joined Michigan State University in 2017 as the founding director of the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering (IQ) and the inaugural chair of the new Department of Biomedical Engineering in the College of Engineering. He is also a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. As professor emeritus in the department of pediatrics at Stanford University he maintains connections to various programs and departments at Stanford. Dr. Contag received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Minnesota, St. Paul in 1982. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis in 1988, where he did his dissertation research on the topic of viral infections of the central nervous system. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University from 1990-1994 in the Department of Microbiology where he studied mother-to-infant transmission of HIV, and then joined the faculty in Pediatrics at Stanford in 1995 with a joint appointment in Microbiology and Immunology and courtesy appointments in Bioengineering and Radiology. Dr. Contag served as the Associate Chief of the Division of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, the director of Stanford’s Center for Innovation in In Vivo Imaging (SCI3) and co-director of both the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS) and Child Health Research Institute (CHRI) at Stanford University. Dr. Contag has developed and used noninvasive imaging approaches to reveal molecular processes in living subjects, to understand host pathogen interactions, to advance diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for cancer, and to reveal the nuances of stem cell engraftment and expansion. The initial imaging tools imaged biological functions at the macroscopic scale and this has led to a need to develop tools for imaging at the microscopic scale—these include miniature confocal microscopes that reach into the body for early diagnosis, and Raman-based endoscopes. Dr. Contag’s work with extracellular vesicles (EVs), exosomes and micro-vesicles, has focused on their biological and diagnostic relevance as well as engineering EVs as drug delivery systems. Dr. Contag is a founding member, and past president of the Society for Molecular Imaging (now part of WMIS) and recent past president and a Fellow of WMIS. For his fundamental contributions in the field of molecular imaging, he was awarded the Achievement Award from the Society for the Molecular Imaging. For his fundamental contributions to the field of optics he was awarded the Britton Chance Award from the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). Dr. Contag was a founder of Xenogen Corp., now part of PerkinElmer, a company with the mission of commercializing in vivo bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging, a founder of BioEclipse Inc., a company aimed at improving cancer immunotherapy, and a founder of PixelGear, a point-of-care pathology company.