Research Areas: Cancer Diagnostics, cervical cancer, Nanotechnology
Research Program: Cancer Measurement Technology and Data Science
Strategic Theme: Molecular Measurement
Brian Cunningham’s research is developing biosensors and detection instruments for pharmaceutical high throughput 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. In collaboration with CCIL Research Program Leader Brendan Harley’s research group, his group developed PC-enhanced microscopy for high-resolution imaging. It was 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.
Brian 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 Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory Director. Cunningham has published 185 peer-reviewed journal articles and is an inventor on 83 patents. He co-founded 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.