Imaging and Sensing

Many advancements in the field of imaging and sensing have been born out of a need to learn more about our smallest and most vulnerable. Infants cannot tell us what’s wrong; nor can their tiny bodies (sometimes with less than 2 ounces of circulating blood) withstand a battery of invasive tests. They are not going to keep still for an MRI scan either. The goal then with the imaging and sensing technologies we employ, and often develop, is for these tools to be as minimally invasive as possible.

The speed at which new technologies are being created is faster than ever before, giving us the tools to do more with less perturbation. Our imaging capabilities report upon the different levels of biological organization, from genomics and proteomics to gross physiology. Studying biochemistry in real time in living organisms allows for a more precise reading of functional and anatomical biomarkers.

Imaging Modalities

  • Optical imaging: We gather information by probing tissue with light or we use engineered light to report on biological function. These optical reporters help us to make more accurate diagnoses and may improve treatment. Read More>>
  • Gas detection: We can tell a lot about a baby’s physiology by measuring the metabolites in her breath.  We have been using the measurement of CO in breath to monitor total bilirubin formation for many years. Some of the first work on hydrogen gas excretion to study carbohydrate absorption and bacterial colonization in preterm infants was also done at Stanford. 


Valerie Chock
Professor of Pediatrics (Neonatology) and, by courtesy, of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Maternal Fetal Medicine)
David K. Stevenson, M.D.
Harold K. Faber Professor of Pediatrics, Senior Associate Dean, Maternal and Child Health and Professor, by courtesy, of Obstetrics and Gynecology and of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine