The cavernous nerves (CN), responsible for erectile function, are at risk of injury during nerve-sparing prostate cancer surgery because of close proximity of the nerves on the prostate surface. Presence of a fascia layer covering prostate gland as well as CN branches and their microscopic nature also make it difficult to predict the exact location and path of these nerves from one patient to another. Nerve-mapping devices, utilizing conventional Electrical Nerve Stimulation (ENS) technique, have been used as intra- operative diagnostic tools to assist in preservation of the CN. However, these technologies have proven inconsistent and unreliable in identifying the CN due to lack of specificity, high false positive responses, and the influence of multiple conflicting factors in recording an electrical response during surgery. Optical Nerve Stimulation (ONS), using infrared laser radiation, has been studied as a potential alternative to ENS. ONS offers several advantages, including: (1) a non-contact method of stimulation, (2) improved spatial selectivity, and (3) elimination of stimulation artifacts.
Serhat Tozburun was born in Ankara, Turkey. He received his B.Sc. degree in Physics from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, as an Honor Student in 2005, his M.S. degree in Physics at Koç University, Istanbul in 2007, and his Ph.D. degree in the Optical Science and Engineering program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2012. He is currently a research fellow in the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
During M.S. thesis studies, Dr. Tozburun’s research effort focused on theoretical and experimental investigation of near-infrared pulsed solid-state lasers and the mechanism of passive Q-switching under the supervision of Prof. Alphan Sennaroglu. In his Ph.D. work, he performed research and development work on the subject of Optical Stimulation of Prostate Nerves, using infrared laser radiation as a potential alternative to conventional Electrical Nerve Stimulation under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Nathaniel M. Fried. He is currently carrying out his postdoctoral studies on the development of new ultrafast laser sources for optical imaging instrumentation under the supervision of Assist. Prof. Benjamin Vakoc.
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