Armor Medical Inc.

Est. 2022

Christine O'Brien,


I am an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis where I lead a research lab that uses non-invasive optical spectroscopy and imaging methods to develop tools for solving global problems in women’s health. My dissertation focused on developing optical spectroscopy tools for investigating biochemical changes in cervix tissue throughout pregnancy in animal models and patients. I successfully demonstrated the clinical feasibility of this technique in an Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved 60 patient clinical trial. I also re-designed our fiber optic Raman probe to be speculum-free which resulted in increased comfort for the patient, easy integration with the existing clinical workflow, and saved providers time and resources. During this project I gained mastery of optical spectroscopy, fiber optic probe design, multivariate statistical analysis, reproductive physiology, and spectral analysis. This work resulted in four first author publications (1-2), contribution to multiple research proposals, and secondary authorship on eight publications. During my postdoctoral training I led two projects that span multiple optical and thermal imaging modalities. The first developed a laser stimulated thermal imaging method that interrogates tissue with a heat challenge, revealing optical and thermal properties of the tissue for cancer detection. I built and tested a portable, non-contact laser-stimulated thermal imaging system in mouse models of breast cancer using custom analysis software that accurately identified distinguishing features of cancerous regions. My second project aimed to improve tumor margin assessment during fluorescence-guided surgery. I designed and built a dual-wavelength fluorescence excitation imaging system that provides fluorophore depth in tissue independent of fluorophore concentration. The system was validated in phantoms and animal models where it showed high accuracy. I recently launched an independent project focused on the development of novel wearable optical sensors for the early detection of postpartum hemorrhage, for which I was awarded a K99/R00 from NICHD. These sensors worked incredibly well in swine studies of hemorrhage, and we have IRB approval to begin human testing of these sensors in pregnant patients. I recently helped to co-found Armor Medical Inc. to commercialize this technology. Overall, I have significant experience and expertise in the development and translation of light-based tools for applications in women’s health, particularly in the development and evaluation of wearable postpartum hemorrhage sensors.

Armor Medical Inc.

Engineering a new standard for women's health.