BLI Profiles


Thomas D. O'Sullivan Ph.D.

1002 Health Sciences Road
Irvine, CA 92612

Recruiting Subjects for an Imaging Study of Tamoxifen and Breast Tissue Density!

Research Interests

  • Wearable Optical-based Human Health Sensors
  • Cancer Imaging with Diffuse Optical Technologies
  • Noninvasive Measurements of Breast Tissue Density
  • Prediction of Hormone Therapy Response Using Diffuse Optics
  • Development of Portable, Real-Time Functional Imaging Devices
  • Miniature Optical Sensors for Real-Time, Continuous Preclinical Models of Disease


Thomas O'Sullivan is a Director of the Diffuse Optical Spectroscopy & Imaging Laboratory (DOSI) at the Beckman Laser Institute at the University of California, Irvine. He is engaged in translational research based on the development of near-infrared diffuse optical spectroscopy systems (DOS) which allow for quantitative measurements of tissue architecture and metabolic function. This work, while applicable to many diseases, is focused on applications such as breast cancer for screening and predicting individual response to chemotherapy. DOS-based imaging is advantageous to other breast imaging modalities because it does not involve ionizing radiation, provides better contrast than mammography in young women, and is much more accessible (lower cost) than MRI.

Tom received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University in 2005, and received a M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2007 and 2010, respectively. From 2010-2012 Tom trained at UC Irvine in the NIH T32 Training Program in cancer biology, and he is now a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. He possesses a strong background in optical devices (lasers, photodetectors, and optics) and semiconductor physics, with specific applications in biomedical optical sensing and imaging. Tom is currently applying his unique background in engineering combined with training in cancer biology to engineer quantitative approaches that improve and advance the basic scientific and clinical research in breast cancer. He has received several awards and grants, actively publishes his work in leading biomedical optics and engineering journals, and frequently presents his research at optics conferences.

Awards and Honors

  • Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) Postdoctoral Fellow
  • National Cancer Institute Postdoctoral Trainee (T32) in Cancer Biology
  • National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellow
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security Graduate Fellow
  • SPIE Scholarship Recipient
  • International Engineering Consortium William L. Everitt Student Award of Excellence


    Journals (peer-reviewed)

  • T. D. O'Sullivan*, R. T. Heitz*, N. Parashurama*, D. B. Barkin, B. A. Wooley, S. S. Gambhir, J. S. Harris, and O. Levi. Real-time, continuous, fluorescence sensing in a freely-moving subject with an implanted hybrid VCSEL/CMOS biosensor. Biomed Opt Express. 2013; 4:1332-41.
    * indicates equal contribution

  • D. Roblyer, T. D. O'Sullivan, R. V. Warren, B. J. Tromberg. Feasibility of direct digital sampling for diffuse optical frequency domain spectroscopy in tissue. Meas Sci Technol. 2013; 24:045501.

  • T. D. O'Sullivan, A. Leproux, J.-H. Chen, S. Bahri, A. Matlock, D. Roblyer, C. E. McLaren, W.-P. Chen, A. E. Cerussi, M.-Y. Su, B. J. Tromberg. Optical imaging correlates with magnetic resonance imaging breast density and reveals composition changes during neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Breast Cancer Res. 2013; 15:R14.

  • N. Parashurama*, T. D. O'Sullivan* , A. de la Zerda , P. El Kalassi , S. Cho , H. Liu , R. Teed , H. Levy, J. Rosenberg , Z. Cheng , O. Levi , J. S. Harris , S. S. Gambhir. Continuous sensing of tumor-targeted molecular probes with a vertical cavity surface emitting laser-based biosensor. J Biomed Opt. 2012; 17(11):117004.
    * indicates equal contribution

  • T. D. O'Sullivan, A. E. Cerussi, D. J. Cerussi, B. J. Tromberg. Diffuse optical imaging using spatially and temporally modulated light. J Biomed Opt. 2012; 17(7):071311.

  • S. Ueda, D. Roblyer, A. Cerussi, A. Durkin, A. Leproux, Y. Santro, S. Xu, T. D. O'Sullivan, D. Hsiang, R. Mehta, J. Butler, B. J. Tromberg. Baseline tumor oxygen saturation correlates with a pathologic complete response in breast cancer patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Cancer Res. 2012; 72:4318-4328.

  • A. E. Cerussi, R. V. Warren, B. Hill, D. Roblyer, A. Leproux, A. F. Durkin, T. D. O'Sullivan, S. Keene, T. Quong, W. M. Mantulin, and B. J. Tromberg. Tissue Phantoms in Multi-Center Clinical Trials for Diffuse Optical Technologies. Biomed Opt Express 2012; 3(5):966-971.

  • E. A. Munro, H. Levy, D. Ringuette, T. O'Sullivan, and O. Levi , "Multi-modality optical neural imaging using coherence control of VCSELs," Opt Express. 2011; 19(11):10747-10761.

  • J. S. Harris, T. D. O'Sullivan, T. Sarmiento, M. M. Lee, and S. Vo. Emerging applications for vertical cavity surface emitting lasers. Semicond Sci Technol. 2011; 26:014010.

  • T. D. O'Sullivan, E. Munro, N. Parashurama, C. Conca, S. S. Gambhir, J. S. Harris, and O. Levi. Implantable semiconductor biosensor for continuous in vivo sensing of far-red fluorescent molecules. Opt Express 2010; 18(12):12513-12525.

  • T. Sarmiento, H. Bae, T. D. O'Sullivan, and J. S. Harris. GaAs-based 1.53 µm GaInNAsSb vertical cavity surface emitting lasers. Electron Lett. 2009; 45(19):978-979.

  • J. Jiang, S. Tsao, T. D. O'Sullivan, M. Razeghi, and G. Brown. Fabrication of indium bumps for hybrid infrared focal plane array applications. Infrared Phys and Techn. 2004; 45:143-151.

  • J. Jiang, S. Tsao, T. D. O'Sullivan, W. Zhang, H. Lim, T. Sills, K. Mi, M. Razeghi, G.J. Brown, and M. Tidrow High Detectivity InGaAs/InGaP Quantum-Dot Infrared Photodetectors Grown by Low Pressure Metalorganic Chemical Vapor Deposition. Appl Phys Lett. 2004; 84(12):2166-2168.

  • J. Jiang, K. Mi, S. Tsao, W. Zhang, H. Lim, T. D. O'Sullivan, T. Sills, M. Razeghi, G.J. Brown, and M.Z. Tidrow. Demonstration of a 256x256 Middle-Wavelength Infrared Focal Plane Array based on InGaAs/InGaP Quantum Dot Infrared Photodetectors (QDIPs). Appl Phys Lett. 2004; 84(13):2232-2234.

    Conference Proceedings

  • T. D. O'Sullivan, A. Leproux, J. Chen, O. Nalcioglu, B. J. Tromberg, M. L. Su, "Correlation of Breast Density Measured by MRI and Diffuse Optical Spectroscopic Imaging (DOSI) in the Contralateral Normal Breast of Patients During Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy," Proc. of ISMRM, 20th meeting (2012).

  • T. D. O'Sullivan, E. A. Munro, J. S. Harris, and O. Levi, "Fabrication of an integrated 670nm VCSEL-based sensor for miniaturized fluorescence sensing," Proc. SPIE, Vol 7615, 76150D (2010).

  • T. D. O'Sullivan, E. A. Munro, C. Conca, N. Parashurama, A. De la Zerda, S. S. Gambhir, J. S. Harris, and O. Levi, "Near-Infrared in vivo Fluorescence Sensor with Integrated Dielectric Emission Filter," Proc. of the Conference of Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO), Paper JWA49, (2009).

  • T. Sarmiento, H. P. Bae, T. D. O'Sullivan, and J. S. Harris, "1528 nm GaInNAsSb/GaAs vertical cavity surface emitting lasers", Proc. of the Conference of Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO), Paper CTuY4, (2009).

  • T. D. O'Sullivan, E. A. Munro, A. De la Zerda, N. Parashurama, Z. Walls, O. Levi, S. S. Gambhir, and J. S. Harris, "Implantable optical biosensor for in vivo molecular imaging," Proc. SPIE, Vol 7173, 717309 (2009).

  • T. D. O'Sullivan, A. Wechselberger, O. Levi, and J. Harris, "Compact Semiconductor Bioluminescence Bio-sensors," in Frontiers in Optics, OSA Technical Digest (CD) (Optical Society of America), paper JMD5 (2007).

  • S. Tsao, A. V. Gin, K. Mi, J. Szafraniec, W. Zhang, H. Lim, T. D. O'Sullivan, J. Jiang, M. Razeghi, G. J. Brown, and M. Z. Tidrow, "InGaAs/InGaP quantum dots and nanopillar structures for infrared focal plane array applications" ," Proc. SPIE, Vol 5563, p. 75-87 (2004).