4 February 2020

The Optical Society Names Nimmi Ramanujam the 2020 Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award Recipient

Honoree recognized for advances in cancer diagnostics and therapeutics

WASHINGTON—The Optical Society (OSA) is pleased to name Nimmi Ramanujam, Duke University, USA, the 2020 Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award recipient. Ramanujam is recognized for advances in precision diagnostics and therapeutics to address global disparities in cervical and breast cancer management and mortality.

“Nimmi Ramanujam, a notable leader in biophotonics research, is known for addressing some of the greatest global challenges with disparities in cancer treatment,” says 2020 OSA President Stephen D. Fantone, founder and president of the Optikos Corporation. “Ramanujam’s selection as the 2020 Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award recipient is a true testament to her dedication to the field.”

Dr. Ramanujam is an innovator, educator and entrepreneur. Her mission is to develop technology that will have wide reaching impact in women’s health. She directs the center for Global Women’s Health Technologies at Duke where she empowers trainees at Duke and beyond to create impactful solutions to improve the lives of women and girls globally.

Dr. Ramanujam received a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from University of Texas, Austin, USA, and held positions at The University of Texas, Austin; National Institutes of Health; University of Pennsylvania and University of Wisconsin, Madison, before joining Duke University on 2005.

Her research on women’s cancers has centered on translational and laboratory research of relevance to breast and cervical cancer. In the case of cervical cancer prevention, her focus is to develop strategies that reduce attrition to treatment including early screening and diagnostics. In the breast cancer care cascade, she focused on molecular and metabolic imaging to prevent recurrence.  A third area in her research program focuses on low cost ablative strategies for local control of cancer in resource limited settings.

Dr. Ramanujam has more than 20 patents to-date and over 150 publications for screening, diagnostic, and surgical applications. She has raised over $30M of funding to pursue these innovations. Her work has been through numerous awards including: the TR100 Young Innovator Award from MIT, the Global Indus Technovator Award from MIT, Era of Hope Scholar Awards from the Department of Defense, the Stasnell Family Award from the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke, and the Women in Molecular Imaging Leadership Award (WIMIN) from the World Molecular Imaging Congress (WMIC). She is a Fellow of several optical and biomedical engineering societies including OSA, SPIE and AIMBE. She has also been elected to the National Academy of Inventors and is a Fullbright Fellow.

Established in 2012, the Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award recognizes innovative and influential contributions to the field of biophotonics, regardless of career stage. The award encompasses all areas of biophotonics including fundamental optics discoveries in biology, development of new theoretical frameworks and novel instrumentation and clinical translational research for biomedicine. The award is endowed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Hamamatsu Photonics K.K., Coherent Inc., David Feld, Ramachandra Dasari, Adam Wax, Kyungwon An, Robert Gold, Charles Holbrow, Firooz Partovi, Manoharan Ramasamy, Rebecca Richards-Kortum and Guillermo Tearney.

About The Optical Society

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit osa.org.

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