Darren Roblyer, Ph.D.

photo of Dr. Darren Roblyer

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Ph.D, Rice University
B.S, Johns Hopkins University
Biomedical Optical Technologies Lab

Phone: 617-358-1554
Office: ERB 231
Office Hours: By Appointment
Email: roblyer@bu.edu

Research Interests

Optical Functional Imaging, Diffuse Optics, Near Infrared Spectroscopy, Monitoring of Emerging Targeted and Cytotoxic Therapies in Oncology, Non-Invasive Monitoring of Tumor Metabolism.

Current Research

There are currently hundreds of new cytotoxic and targeted chemotherapy agents in phase I and II oncologic clinical trials. Based on historical precedent and what is currently known about tumor biology, even the most effective of these new agents will only produce clinically significant responses in specific patient subsets, and many patients will eventually acquire therapy resistance. Additionally, drug scheduling is imperative to therapy effectiveness, especially in multi-agent regimens incorporating agents of different mechanisms of action, or in metastatic patients when regimens must be progressively altered to combat chemoresistance.

Determination of personalized treatment regimens and scheduling will require looking beyond the standard phase I/II/III trial paradigm and will require treatments that adapt to subjects based on frequent monitoring of functional parameters. Current clinical medical imaging is strongly weighted toward revealing anatomical structures rather than metabolic or molecular information and there are significant limitations in the frequency at which patients can be re-imaged during treatment due to cost and safety.

Our group is developing and testing a range of optical technologies to monitor patients at unprecedented timepoints during cancer treatment. For example, we utilize near-infrared light to monitor hemodynamic and molecular aspects of breast tumors at multiple timepoints during presurgical chemotherapy including during infusions, during the first days of treatment, and regularly during treatment in order to predict if patients are responsive to therapy. Our frequency-domain spectroscopic measurements of absolute tissue-level hemoglobin, fat, and water concentrations allow us to reveal prognostically significant metabolic and immunological changes which occur over multiple timescales in tumors. We are currently investigating new methods for frequency-domain spectroscopy that are capable of integrating into the physician’s workflow or that can travel with the patient for real time monitoring.


A complete list of publications listed chronologically by year.

A complete list of publications by number of citations.