Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Jessica Ramella-Roman

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Joshua Hutcheson

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Wei-Chiang Lin

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Anuradha Godavarty

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Purnima Madhivanan

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Mueller matrix polarimetry, uterine cervix, imaging, cervical imaging

Date of Defense



Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, with more than half a million women diagnosed each year due to persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and a mortality of 311,000 women. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, developing countries have 84% of the global burden of the disease and 80% of the mortality due to a lack of effective screening programs. Several screening techniques have been developed and implemented to aid in low resource setting cervical screening, however, most require physician interpretation of color images. Other modalities utilize contrast agents to highlight pathological tissue but have small field of view. This dissertation investigates the use of polarimetric imaging techniques to image uterine cervix with particular focus to the needs of underserved communities.

We have used Mueller matrix imaging, to noninvasively image the uterine cervix in vivo. Mueller matrix (MM) can provide structural information of the cervix extracellular matrix (ECM) that could be leveraged for early diagnosis of cervical cancer and other pathologies of the uterine cervix. We have developed a Savart-based portable Mueller matrix polarimeter to conduct a pilot study to characterize polarimetrically healthy human cervixes. The results showed high depolarization and retardance, as is expected of healthy tissue.

The availability of new equipment, such as microgrid polarized cameras, led to the simplification of the polarimetric setup from a 4 x 4 MM to a reduced 3 x 4 MM. To facilitate image acquisition using this camera, we have devised a novel algorithm capable of decomposing the Mueller Matrix from its reduced (3 x 4) form. The algorithm was compared and shown to provide similar results to two established decomposition methods. Finally, we have used this approach to obtain depolarization and azimuthal angle values of biological tissue including ex vivo samples and in vivo cervix. This works paves the way to non-invasive studies of cervical structure in vivo.





Previously Published In

Gonzalez, M., et al., Design and implementation of a portable colposcope Mueller matrix polarimeter. J Biomed Opt, 2020. 25(11): p. 1-16.

Gonzalez, M., et al., Introduction of a 3 x 4 Mueller matrix decomposition method. Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, 2021

Gonzalez, M., et al., Cervical imaging in the low resource setting: a review. Reproduction Sciences, 2022 (submitted)



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