Date of Award

August 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical and Chemical Engineering


Joseph Chaiken

Second Advisor

Julie Hasenwinkel


Injury, in vivo, Neuron, Principal Component Analysis, Raman Spectroscopy, Spinal Cord

Subject Categories



The goal of this study was to (1) develop a methodology for real-time, in vivo probing of chemical and physical changes in spinal cords and (2) compare these changes in the immediate aftermath of a localized contusive injury to uninjured spinal cords. Raman spectroscopy images were obtained on in vivo spinal cords that had been surgically exposed between T9 and T10. A total of six rats were studied in two n=3 groups of injured and uninjured control animals. A single 830 nm laser of 100 um round spot size was either spatially scanned across the cord or held at a specified location relative to the injury to improve signal to noise in the Raman spectra and explore effects of injury spread on surrounding tissue. Results show that Raman spectra acquired using our methodology show similar spectra to those acquired previously in our lab and with known literature. Principal component analysis was performed and showed three distinct components assigned to static tissue, cerebrospinal fluid, and plasma. Analysis of the Raman spectra suggest that the tissues underwent changes for both the control and injured animals; however, injured cords display Raman features indicative of changes known in spinal cord injury. Based on this work, use of Raman spectroscopy in the future could facilitate better understanding of in vivo injury in spinal cords.


Open Access

Included in

Engineering Commons



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