Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Non-invasive fluorescence lifetime differentiation of tissue proteins

Technology #6503

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Joe Fujiou Lo
Managed By
Tiefei Dong
Senior Licensing Specialist, Life Sciences 734-763-5332
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

The quality of skin wound healing is currently determined by trained dermatologists performing visual and physical examinations. However, the biology of wound healing is well studied, with many quantifiable markers of healing progression such as the transition of collagen protein types. A new device utilizing marker-free, non-invasive fluorescent imaging seeks to break new ground in quantifiable wound healing diagnosis and monitoring. This technology will allow doctors to make more precise determinations of patient progress that will lower costs and allow more timely interventions.

Modulated LEDs and frequency domain processing lowers imaging cost

The technology improves upon fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) by using a modulated LED light source, avoiding costly and power-consuming lasers. This move was enabled by using frequency domain analysis of the fluorescence signal. Meanwhile, fiber-optic cabling allows the sensor to be small and unobtrusively placed on the body region of interest. Proteins, especially different types of collagen, can then be measured and monitored without requiring invasive biopsies. Doctors will be able to track the evolution of protein composition at the wound site over time, allowing precise diagnoses of the rate of healing. Current laboratory experiments have demonstrated successful discrimination between purified type I and type III collagen and elastin, as well as whole tissue samples from animals.


  • Wound healing identification and diagnosis
  • Laboratory protein differentiation


  • Marker-less imaging means no recurring consumables costs
  • Allows biopsy-free imaging in live tissue
  • Can be simplified into a portable monitoring system