Meet Tom O’Sullivan

Tom O’Sullivan is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and a faculty researcher at the Harper Cancer Research Institute.

For Professor O’Sullivan, the research he conducts for Harper is personal. In 2011, just two months before their wedding, his wife, Jennifer, was diagnosed with breast cancer. They were thrown into the fight of their lives and spent their entire first year of marriage in hospitals seeing doctors. Eight years and three kids later, Jennifer and Tom are co-survivors, but many others are not as fortunate.

O Sullivan Tom

“Cancer is one of the foremost problems in the world and it takes addressing that from all different angles with all different types of viewpoints to really make progress," O’Sullivan says.

Leading a team of Notre Dame researchers studying the interaction between light and biological tissue, O’Sullivan builds medical devices to provide a more accurate diagnosis of breast cancer through imaging technologies. His team is just one of many within Harper working to change the course of cancer treatment. In uniting researchers from all disciplines, Harper positions itself as a leader in finding the best solutions to this deadly disease.

Changing the course of cancer treatment doesn’t just involve research. Increased awareness of Harper’s work is necessary, too. O’Sullivan took action in the fight by participating in the Harper Cancer Fitness Challenge this past winter, an annual weeklong fitness challenge in which every 1 mile or 10 minutes of activity logged by participants raises $1 for cancer research thanks to a matching gift by a generous benefactor.

“Because the entry cost is so low, it’s a great way to involve as many people as possible — not just to raise money for an important cause, but for bringing awareness to all the great things Notre Dame is doing in cancer research. Those dollars get turned into scientific results and knowledge that down the road will affect everyone.

This year, O’Sullivan will again participate in the 2019 Harper Cancer Fitness Challenge. You too can register and get active from October 26-November 3. Join Tom, Jennifer, and other Notre Dame faculty and staff in the fight against cancer.

We need you and your team! Register or donate today for the Harper Cancer Fitness Challenge and make a difference through life-saving cancer research. 

Go Irish! Beat Cancer!