Tomasz S. Tkaczyk
Associate Professor in Bioengineering
Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Postdoctoral Fellow, Applied Optics, The University of Arizona, Tucson (2002 – 2003)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Biomedical Imaging, The University of Arizona, Tucson (2001 – 2002)
Ph.D. Optical Engineering and Physical Optics, Optical Engineering Div. of the Institute of Micromechanics & Photonics, Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland (2000)
MS. Eng. Optical Engineering, Department of Mechatronics, Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland (1994)
Tomasz Tkaczyk specializes in the development of modern optical instruments that combine advanced technologies in optics, opto-mechanics, electronics and software, and bio-chemical materials for the early detection and treatment of diseases, such as cancer.
Tkaczyk’s basic, applied, and translational research is leading to the development of new imaging technologies that are compact, robust, portable, inexpensive, and adaptable to mass production. The compact optical imaging systems are ideal for point-of-care diagnostics in various clinical settings around the world.
Tkaczyk is the principal investigator (PI) on an NIH R01research project to build and test an advanced dual-functioning medical instrument called the Bi-FOV Endoscope. The five-year investigator-initiated project involves several institutions and three subcontractors for the development of an integrated optical needle that works with contrast agents to provide real-time cancer detection. The endoscope is part of another ongoing project in which Tkaczyk serves as a co-principal investigator in the fabrication and testing of optical and mechanical technologies, such as miniaturized optics, micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) components, and low-cost/high performance and modern-fabrication technologies. The joint efforts with collaborators at Rice University and the University of Arizona have enabled new platform technologies or methods not possible five or even ten years ago, and are currently in clinical trials.
Through the support of an NIH R21 grant, Tkaczyk developed an imaging technique called Image Mapping Spectrometry (IMS) that uses a specialized compact camera and couples with any high-resolution microscope, endoscope, or camera system to see a biological sample’s chemical and physical composition. The technology has the potential of becoming a fundamental research tool for microscopy and has many medical and life-science applications. A patent application for the IMS was submitted, and the Optical Society of America recently featured the IMS in its “2010 Papers of the Year.”
Tkaczyk is author of 25 peer-reviewed publications, serves as editor and reviewer for several scientific journals, is the author of a new textbook titled Field Guide to Microscopy, a book chapter in the Handbook of Optics on Miniature and Micro-Optics, and more than 20 proceeding papers. He has also presented results of his investigations at 17 invited lectures both in the U.S. and abroad.
He is the recipient of the Rice University Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering’s Medical Innovations Award (2008, 2014), a Global Health Technologies award (2008) to develop high-throughput microscopy platform technologies that analyze several thousand cells in real time for the detection of tuberculosis, a John S. Dunn Research Foundation award to adapt the endoscopic technologiesand build a high-resolution endoscope that images the intricate workings of the inner ear in vivo (2009), a Becton-Dickinson Professional Achievement Award by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (2010), a Paul F. Forman Engineering Excellence Award by the Optical Society (2011), and both the Norman Edmund Optics Higher Education Award and the Norman Edmund Inspiration Award (2012).
Research in Tkaczyk’s Modern Optical Instrumentation and Bio-imaging Laboratory focuses on the development and application of novel imaging instruments and systems. The compact size and high-performance capabilities of the bio-imaging tools developed in his lab have tremendous potential for point-of-care diagnostics in various clinical settings around the world.
To effectively advance his engineering research, Tkaczyk’s group combines the newest technologies in:
- Optics (grayscale lithography, laser printing, free form diamond turning, molding, etc
- Opto-mechanics (LIGA, DRIE components);
- Electronics (custom detectors);
- Software (dedicated DSPs, new algorithms); and
- Bio-chemical materials (solgel, gold nanoparticles, quantum dots).
Micro-optics research in bioengineering is a challenging task that requires a constant awareness of emerging technologies. Through collaborations with researchers in academic and industrial settings, Tkaczyk’s efforts are leading to the design and testing of optical and mechanical technologies in:
- High-performance imaging micro-endoscopes that work with contrast agents and provide real-time cancer detection;
- Modern and inexpensive technologies that enable high performance and are adaptable to mass production; and
- High-throughput techniques like super-resolution or hyper-spectral imaging capabilities for optical screening devices that increase sensitivity and specificity for the detection of disease.