Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair/Advisor

Jeffrey N. Anker

Committee Member

Tzuen-Rong Jeremy Tzeng

Committee Member

Stephen Creager

Committee Member

Daniel Whitehead


The goal of my dissertation research is to develop injectable and implantable biosensors to measure tumor pH to study cancer pathophysiology and effectiveness of treatments and peritoneal infections using plain radiography. The pH in cancer tissues plays an important role in determining cancer progression and treatment. Local acidosis is believed to be an indicator of dormant regions that are more resistant to therapies, a contributor to metastasis, and influence immune responses. We are designing a hydrogel-based sensor that can be injected into tumors during needle biopsy procedures and/or procedures to add markers for image-guided therapies. The pH response of the hydrogels can be measured by length changes using plain radiography. Hydrogel pillar structures were designed to measure tumor heterogeneity using ultrasound and micro-computed tomography methods. The pH sensor was extended to study peritoneal infections in peritoneal dialysis patients. During infection, the pH of peritoneal fluid decreases, and the pH could be used as a biomarker to determine infections. An implantable peritoneal sensor was designed based on a hydrogel pH sensor attached to a catheter and the sensor performance in vivo showed promising results. The developed sensors can provide serial pH measurements at regions in the tumor for studying cancers and peritoneal infections for early detection of infections.

Author ORCID Identifier




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