Kristin Byers

Mentor: Dr. Wesley Bolch
College of Engineering
 
"I love the idea of doing something no one else has done in quite the same way. I thought research would be a way for me to satisfy my curiosity while learning new skills and interacting with interesting people. The truth is every research experience is different - and I think that's why it's so exciting."

Major

Biological Engineering

Minor

N/A

Research Interests

  • Medical Imaging
  • Biomaterials
  • Tissue Engineering

Academic Awards

  • University Scholars Program
  • President's/Dean's List
  • Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) Star Scholarship
  • Florida Bright Futures

Organizations

  • Vice President - Freshmen Leadership Engineering Group
  • Phi Eta Sigma
  • Epsilon Lambda Chi, the Engineering Circle (ELC)

Volunteer

  • The Servants' House Ministries: Love Outreach International - Mexico Water Project

Hobbies and Interests

  • Karate: Hayashi-ha Shito-ryu Style
  • Rock Climbing
  • Reading

Research Description

Kidney Microanatomy for Modeling Radiation Doses during Alpha Particle Radionuclide Therapy

The purpose of this study is to investigate individual variations in kidney nephron size in relation to ranges of alpha particles used for potential cancer therapy. These variations include both intra-kidney and inter-individual deviations in nephron size. At present, some 15 cadaver kidney specimens have been collected from the State of Florida Anatomical Board under IRB approval. These specimens have been serially sectioned after which high-resolution digital images were taken for construction of 3D macroscopic models of renal anatomy as needed for both photon and beta-particle dosimetry (Figure 1). For alpha particle dosimetry, micro-anatomical models are needed as shown in Figure 2. In this USP project, a combination of tissue sectioning, immunohistological staining, and multi-spectral confocal imaging, length/diameter measurements will be made of the proximal tubules, distal tubules, and glomeruli across the 15 cadaver kidney specimens. Multi-spectral imaging will be performed using a Zeiss LSM 170 confocal microscopic in the BME Department, with training on that microscope to be conducted concurrently with that of the graduate student mentor. The dimensional measurements obtained will provide the numerical basis for a series of individual NURBS-based models of the kidney nephron. The model series will be voxelized and radiation transport simulations will be performed to look at alpha particle absorbed fractions (e.g., fraction of alpha energy emitted from a source tissue that is deposited in a critical target tissue). These absorbed fractions will then be compared against those resulting from a single "reference" model constructed using mean/median values of measurement distributions. It is anticipated that one major medical journal article will result from this USP project.