Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair

Vijay Raghunathan

Committee Co-Chair

Allen L Garner

Committee Member 1

Raji Sundararajan

Committee Member 2

Anand Raghunathan


With an American dying each minute due to cancer and with a global burden of over $170 billion by 2020, there is a critical need for alternate solutions, especially for deep-seated, inoperable tumors in the liver and brain. Systemic chemotherapy has side effects and radiation is expensive. Challenges of current technologies for treating the liver include poor performance near vascular structures and the inability to treat multiple nodular tumors. Brain tumor treatment suffers from inadequate intra-cerebral drug concentration and uncontrollable drug delivery. These difficulties motivate the development of low-cost solutions that have fractionated application and are localized, monitored, and compatible with intra-operative imaging. This research presents two alternative systems based on electrolytic mechanisms: an ultrasound-powered micro-ablator for electrochemical treatment of deep-seated liver tumors and an implantable electrophoretic flushable-electrode system for controllable drug delivery to brain tumors. The micro-ablator leverages pH change, below six and above nine for tumor tissue destruction. Using ultrasound to energize the ablator provides advantages of deep penetration, omni-directionality, device miniaturization and possible wireless telemetry for data communication, which are all attractive for implementation in a clinical setting. The use of direct current enables delivery of charged therapeutic substances through electrophoresis to increase their intra-tumoral concentration and penetration. The facile fabrication of novel fluidic-flushable channel electrodes enables their conformability with soft tissue. Together, these two technologies enable the low-cost development of customized and localized treatment protocols for practical applicability with a potential to reduce tumor burden.