– Dr. Kunal Mitra, Florida Tech associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, recently earned a $43,150 grant from the National Science
Foundation’s Bioengineering and Environmental Systems Division. The grant will fund a study of the mechanism of light interaction with tissues at the
cellular level for applications in laser therapy and photodynamic therapy (PDT).
Laser therapy is any treatment using intense beams of light to precisely cut, burn, or destroy tissue. Photodynamic therapy is a type of cancer treatment
based on the premise that single-celled organisms, if first treated with certain photosensitive drugs, will die when exposed to high light doses at a
particular frequency. PDT destroys cancerous cells by using this fixed frequency light to activate photosensitizing drugs, which have accumulated in body
Mitra will use fiberoptic nanobiosensors to precisely deliver light to individual tissue cells and optically sense the emission, transmission and chemicals
generated. The mechanism that allows low-power light to interact with skin at the cellular level is not clearly understood. Understanding these processses
is important to better determine the optimal wave length and dose needed to obtain a benefit, but avoid toxicity in laser therapy.
Working with him in this research is Soumyadipta Basu, a Florida Tech mechanical engineering graduate student.
Florida Tech offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering.