Photo of Kyungmin Hwang

Biotechnology & medicine

Kyungmin Hwang

Conducting research on miniaturization that can observe tissue microstructure.

Year Honored

VPIX Medical, Inc.


Statistically, almost 30% of the world dies from cancer. Until there’s a miracle drug that cures this disease, surgery is often the best option. During the surgery, surgeons remove a tumor, but cancer cells can still remain around the margins. Therefore, surgeons biopsy surrounding tissue during surgery and send it to pathologists for cancer diagnosis. However this process has several limitations such as sampling error and long preparation time, and it is impossible to biopsy if there are major nerves and blood vessels in the suspected tissue. 

Kyungmin Hwang, CEO of VPIX Medical, Inc., conducted research on miniaturization of a confocal microscope into handheld type (called cCeLL) that can observe tissue microstructure during her doctoral course at KAIST. In the first year of her Ph.D. program, she founded VPIX Medical with a neurosurgeon to revolutionize cancer surgery. Her dream is to see technology that exists only on paper grow into a medical solution that can truly change the world.

cCeLLTM is a handheld reflective confocal fluorescence microscope that can acquire unlimited digital tissue images in real-time but in a non-invasive way. After spraying on or injecting fluorescent dye into the patient, surgeons can transmit images, instead of actual tissues, to pathologist, allowing pathologist to provide intraoperative guidance in real-time so that surgeons can make a surgical decision even before resection. 

VPIX Medical will give surgeons a tool that lets them work with pathologies in real time. It finally allows surgeons to share live, high resolution images from inside patients with pathologists during surgery. There is no miracle drug to cure cancer, but we believe that we will soon start making a difference in the world.