Tiffany Ko, Ph.D.

T32 NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow

Division of Neurology

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Google Scholar | ResearchGate

About Me

Biomedical Engineering

Designing non-invasive optical neuromonitoring technologies to guide pediatric critical care.

I recently defended my PhD in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. As an HHMI Interfaces in Imaging Scholar and NIH NRSA F31 Predoctoral Trainee, I worked alongside multidisciplinary healthcare providers in an effort to improve the standard of critical care through the use of novel, non-invasive diffuse optical neuromonitoring techniques. In addition to Bioengineering, I have an academic background in Electrical Engineering, Translational Medicine, and human physiology (via completion of the pre-clinical Perelman School of Medicine curriculum). My postdoctoral work will focus on conducting preclinical large animal models to establish and optimize predictive models of neurological injury in vulnerable pediatric populations based on non-invasive optical neuromonitoring.

Thank you for visiting and please do not hesitate to get in touch!

Contact Me Download CV


Research Groups

My translational research is made possible by an extraordinary team of scientists and clinicians.

  • Yodh Biomedical Optics Group
    University of Pennsylvania

    PI: Arjun G. Yodh, PhD
    Functional imaging and monitoring of living tissues with diffuse light, photodynamic therapy, and linear/nonlinear optics & spectroscopy.

  • June and Steve Wolfson Laboratory for Clinical and Biomedical Optics
    Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

    PI: Daniel J. Licht, MD
    Implementation of novel, non-invasive technology for measuring cerebral metabolism and hemodynamics in vulnerable pediatric populations.

  • Resuscitation Science Program, Laboratory Arm
    Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

    PI: Todd J. Kilbaugh, MD
    Investigating metabolism and mitochondrial bioenergetic dysfunction in acute brain injury; including pediatric traumatic brain injury, cardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary bypass.

Research Highlights

Diffuse Optical Monitoring of Tissue Hemodynamics and Metabolism

Towards individualized neuroprotective strategies.

Congenital Heart Defects (CHD)

Perioperative Monitoring of Cerebral Hemodynamics

Infants with critical congenital heart disease (CHD) experience a high incidence of neurological injury, specifically diffuse white matter injury, which may underlie adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes at school age. Using non­invasive diffuse optical measurements of cerebral hemodynamics, we have uncovered an important link between time­-to-­surgery, declining cerebral oxygen saturation, and risk of new or worsened post­operative white matter injury. This work aims to elucidate the peri­operative timing of cerebral metabolism and desaturation to pinpoint vulnerable periods for injury.
Read more in our 2018 publication on preoperative cerebral hemodynamics.

Validation Study [Preclinical]

Cerebral Oxygen Metabolism During Deep Hypothermic Cardiopulmonary Bypass

Deep hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass (DH CPB) is an important, neuroprotective strategy wherein the patient is cooled below 20˚C via cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) to stabilize cerebral metabolism. This typically occurs in infants and children undergoing surgical repair of complex congenital heart disease (CHD). Despite widespread use over four decades, uncertainty remains per the optimal temperature management for cooling and rewarming to prevent hypoxic-ischemic-reperfusion brain injury. Validation of non-invasive diffuse optical measurement of cerebral oxygen metabolism may enable individualized optimization of management protocols which ensure sufficient metabolic suppression. In my work, continuous, non-invasive frequency-domain diffuse optical spectroscopy (FD-DOS) and diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) measurements of cerebral oxygen metabolism and cerebral blood flow are validated against invasive measurements of cerebral oxygen extraction and perfusion in a piglet model of DH CPB.
Read more in our 2018 publication.

Injury Mechanisms [Preclinical]

The Impact of Deep Hypothermic Circulatory Arrest (DHCA) on Cerebral Hemodynamics and Metabolism

Building off the DH CPB validation study, the present study characterizes the incremental impact of deep hypothermia and of circulatory arrest on cerebral oxygen metabolism measured using hybrid FD-DOS/DCS in a neonatal swine model of cardiac surgery. This work will provide improved understanding of the contributing factors to cerebral metabolic vulnerability during DHCA in children.

Physiologic-Directed Resuscitation [Preclinical]

Determining the Association of Cerebral Hemodynamics during CPR and Recovery of the Heart

Respiratory-mediated cardiac arrest affects thousands of children each year in the United States.more then 50% of children will not survive to discharge after such an event, and most survivors often have significant neurological injury. The lack of standardized neuromonitoring during resuscitation has precluded the use of cerebral diagnostics to guide CPR and optimize neurological outcomes. This study will provide valuable data to demonstrate the utility of non-invasive diffuse optical neuromonitoring in reflecting the real-time neurophysiology during resuscitation.

Pregnancy Monitoring

Non-Invasive Transabdominal Measurement of Placental Oxygenation during Pregnancy

Robust transport of oxygen across the placental bed is essential to healthy fetal maturation. Aberrant placental oxygenations have been reported in intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR), pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) and other gestational complications based on non-invasive, transabdominal oximetry using continuous-wave near-infrared spectroscopy (CW-NIRS). These findings are limited in sample size and exhibit high inter-subject variability attributed to the uncertainties of placental and superficial tissue morphology with respect to the measurement location, and tissue optical property assumptions utilized in CW-NIRS. Employing radio frequency (RF) modulated light, advanced frequency-domain near-infrared spectroscopy (FD-NIRS) permits patient-specific characterization of optical properties thereby reducing variability and improving physiologic accuracy. In this work, we are currently using ultrasound-guided FD-NIRS to quantify placental oxygenation in healthy mothers


Looking forward to connecting with you.

If you would like to get in touch, feel free to fill out the form below or email me directly at

Your message was sent, thank you!
web stats