The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases

 I-Chih Tan, PhD

I-Chih Tan, PhD

Assistant Professor, Center for Molecular Imaging


Dr. Tan earned his master degree in bio-industrial mechatronics engineering from National Taiwan University and his doctoral degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Houston, focusing on the biomedical imaging technologies.  His post-doctoral training was performed in the Department of Radiology at Baylor College of Medicine.

In the first research arena, Dr. Tan works with clinicians to apply measurements of lymphatic function to understand the etiology of disease.  So far our understanding of the lymphatic architecture and function and its role in many diseases in limited due to the lack of a suitable imaging technique that has sufficient spatial and/or temporal resolutions.  Recently, Dr. Tan and other members of his team developed and translated lymphatic imaging teNear-infrared fluorescence lymphatic imaging chnology using near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) optical imaging with microdose amounts of fluorescent contrast agent.  It allowed visualization of the lymphatics and quantification of their contractile function in humans and animals.

Dr. Tan’s work currently focuses on developing and optimizing NIRF imaging instrumentations and image analysis algorithm, as well as utilizing this technology in biomedical research and applications. For example, using this technology he studied the lymphatic function in a compassionate case of head and neck lymphedema and has secured funding to expand the study to understand the role of radiation in the development of lymphatic dysfunction.   

Another focus of Dr. Tan’s work is developing and optimizing the instrumentation for  time-dependent optical tomography system and integrating the system into a commercial scanner to perform multi-modality (PET/CT/optical) molecular tomography  in small animals.  This hybrid imaging system allows us to validate the performance of the optical tomography system against the “gold standard” nuclear imaging using dual-labeled imaging agents developed by other faculty in the team.  It also provides many opportunities to longitudinally study the molecular mechanisms of cells and diagnostic/therapeutic biological agents in vivo.

Key Publications

I. C. Tan, C. D. Darne, Y. Lu, B. Zhu, J. C. Rasmussen, A. M. Smith, S. Yan, and E. M. Sevick-Muraca, "A compact frequency-domain photon migration system for integration into commercial hybrid small animal imaging scanners for fluorescence tomography," Phys Med Biol, vol. 57, pp. 8135-52, 2012.

I.-C. Tan, E. A. Maus, J. C. Rasmussen, M. V. Marshall, C. E. Fife, L. A. Smith, R. Guilliod, and E. M. Sevick-Muraca, "Near-infrared fluorescence imaging of lymphatics in head and neck lymphedema," Head & Neck, vol. 34, pp. 448-453, 2012.

B. Zhu, I. C. Tan, J. C. Rasmussen, and E. M. Sevick-Muraca, "Validating the sensitivity and performance of near-infrared fluorescence imaging and tomography devices using a novel solid phantom and measurement approach," Technol Cancer Res Treat, vol. 11, pp. 95-104, 2012.

I. C. Tan, E. A. Maus, J. C. Rasmussen, M. V. Marshall, K. E. Adams, C. E. Fife, L. A. Smith, W. Chan, and E. M. Sevick-Muraca, "Assessment of lymphatic contractile function after manual lymphatic drainage using near-infrared fluorescence imaging," Arch Phys Med Rehabil, vol. 92, pp. 756-764 e1, 2011.

J. C. Rasmussen, I. C. Tan, M. V. Marshall, C. E. Fife, and E. M. Sevick-Muraca, "Lymphatic imaging in humans with near-infrared fluorescence," Curr Opin Biotechnol, vol. 20, pp. 74-82, 2009.

Sequential near-infrared fluorescence images

A miniaturized fluorescence-enhanced optical tomography