Brian Cunningham Portrait

Brian Cunningham

Program Leader, Cancer Measurement Technology

Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Professor, Bioengineering

Areas of Research

Cancer Diagnostics, Nanotechnology

Brian Cunningham’s research is in the development of biosensors and detection instruments for pharmaceutical high throughout screening, disease diagnostics, point-of-care testing, life science research, and environmental monitoring. He led a team of researchers to develop a method to capture and count cancer-associated microRNAs with a technique named Photonic Resonator Absorption Microscopy (PRAM) that was sensitive enough to detect small amounts of known prostate cancer markers in a patient’s serum. Additionally, in collaboration with CCIL Research Program Leader Brendan Harley’s research group, his group developed PC-enhanced microscopy for high resolution imaging and were able to image stem cells and cancer cells interacting with ECM materials. The Cunningham lab also developed PC-enhanced fluorescence assays for early cancer diagnosis, effective for breast cancer biomarkers. 

Brain Cunningham received his BS, MS, and PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is the Willett Professor of Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Director of the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory. He has published 185 peer-reviewed journal articles and is an inventor on 83 patents. He was a co-founder of SRU Biosystems in 2000 and founded Exalt Diagnostics in 2012 to commercialize photonic crystal enhanced fluorescence technology for disease biomarker detection. He serves as the co-lead with Stephen Boppart for the CCIL’s Cancer Measurement Technology and Data Science program.