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Some counterintuitive lessons learned from the OSA BIOMED meeting

With the conclusion of another BIOMED meeting, I once again left Miami impressed by the many excellent talks, clever imaging solutions, and novel biological insights.  I’ve appreciated the opportunity to share my thoughts about the conference through this blog, and in conclusion, I thought I would highlight three things that I was rather surprised to learn.

Added:06 May 2014

Seeing the blood flow that helps us see

The quality of the posters at the the OSA biomedical optics conference this year has been exceptionally high and over the last three days I came across a number of projects that warranted highlighting in the blog. Some of these include the work of Jessica Kishimoto and Prof. Keith St. Lawrence at Western University on the application of diffuse correlation spectroscopy and ultrasound imaging to...

Added:30 Apr 2014

Optical Tomographers Beware!

To all of you optical tomography researchers reading this: admit it, you’re a bit of a gadget geek. The last thing you want is to let your expensive, fancy equipment come into contact with your imaging subjects, especially animals. That’s the real reason why you keep building all of your systems in “non-contact” geometries. Well, according to Shelley Taylor from Prof...

Added:30 Apr 2014

The integration of optical technologies to manipulate and monitor biological samples

This morning at the BIOMED meeting, there were back-to-back talks in the Optical Molecular Biophysics / Neurophotonics session that highlighted the unique insights that can be obtained by integrating different optical technologies. Anna-Karin Gustavsson from Dr. Caroline Adiels group gave an interesting talk that integrated multifluidics, optical trapping, and NADH autofluorescence measurements...

Added:29 Apr 2014

Speeding up multi-photon microscopy

As someone with strong research interests in multiphoton microscopy (MPM), I was excited to hear Dr. Peter So’s plenary talk on Day 3 of the BIOMED meeting. Dr. So provided an overview of the development of his multiphoton tissue cytometry equipment over the years, and its applications in neurobiology. MPM has emerged as key tool in neuroscience to non-invasively image deeper within the...

Added:29 Apr 2014

The OSA BIOMED Meeting Day 1: Things are heating up in Miami

Greetings from Miami! BIOMED has gotten off to great start with a pair of plenary talks by Dr. Xingde Li and Dr. Adam Wax. As I mentioned in a previous post, Dr. Li has been developing and refining endomicroscopic probes to facilitate non-linear optical microscopy in hard to reach places such as the kidney, intestine, and cervix. Dr. Wax, on the other hand, has taken a different approach to...

Added:28 Apr 2014

The Binding Finding of a Fluorescence Lifetime

In this afternoon’s session on Luminescence and Absorption on Cellular and Tissue Levels, Prof. Victor Chernomordik gave an overview of the extensive work he and his colleagues have been undertaking to make fluorescence molecular imaging more quantitative. Much of their work has focused specifically on how to quantify human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) concentrations (a key...

Added:27 Apr 2014

The Early Photon Gets the Worm

One of the biggest problems with using light to analyze biological tissue is that photons in the visible and near-visible spectrum have a very high probability of scattering multiple times as they propagate through the tissue. This is a well-known problem that restricts high-resolution optical microscopy to tissue thicknesses of only a few microns. It has also led researchers to develop...

Added:25 Apr 2014

The Role of Chance in Biomedical Imaging

Much of my work as a postdoctoral trainee at Tufts University has focused on utilizing endogenous sources of optical contrast to assess tissue development and disease. To this end, our lab has utilized non-linear optical microscopy to non-destructively characterize tissue organization and metabolic function with an emphasis on understanding and detecting stem cell differentiation and...

Added:07 Apr 2014

Salt and Pepper (Noise): Key Ingredients for Imaging Blood Flow

We’ve all experienced that “salt-and-pepper”, or white noise when our favorite television show cuts out on us. Well it turns out that similar “speckle” patterns are also seen when projecting laser light onto biological tissue, owing to interference patterns of the monochromatic light source. Now you might say, “so what!” and that’s probably what...

Added:25 Mar 2014

Reducing Drug Trial Costs with Imaging Technology

95% of new cancer therapeutics fail to make it past Phase II clinical trials. This means that while it should only cost about $50 million per drug for FDA approval, incorporating the cost of failures leads to an estimated cost of $1 billion per drug (1), with a recent Forbes article suggesting that this number is considerably higher (2).So why are so many drugs failing in clinical trials?

Added:04 Mar 2014

How to fit a laser-scanning microscope into a 2mm diameter tube

Optical microscopy can provide high-resolution images of cellular morphology and matrix organization, which can be utilized to diagnose disease or trauma. However, achieving an adequate signal-to-noise ratio at imaging depths exceeding 1mm is very challenging.  As a result, the initial clinical applications for optical microscopy techniques have largely focused on skin pathology. ...

Added:28 Feb 2014

Pushing the limits of imaging resolution and penetration depth

The development of labeling techniques capable of providing customizable molecular specificity has made optical microscopy a fundamental technique in the biomedical research, and the standard compound microscope remains a fixture in just about any clinic or biomedical lab. The popularity of optical microscopy was also driven by the ability to provide resolution at the cellular level that...

Added:28 Feb 2014

It takes blood, sweat, and SERS to image single cells

Throw out those old dusty fluorescent molecules and welcome in the next generation of optical contrast agents. SERS (Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering/Spectroscopy) nanoparticles are sophisticated new contrast agents that offer some distinct advantages over conventional fluorescent molecules for investigating molecular biology.

Added:20 Feb 2014

Where would biomedicine be without optics?

Much of the emphasis in biomedical optics research has been placed on the clinical translation of our technologies -- and rightfully so!  As my fellow blogger Dr. Ken Tichauer indicates, the potential impact in the clinic is great and the future remains bright.  But as we gear up for OSA BIOMED 2014 in Miami, I will be excited to learn about some of the latest applications in basic...

Added:10 Feb 2014

Photoimmunotherapy (PIT) busts open the doors for drug delivery

Over the last decade alone, it is estimated that over $200 billion has been spent just by governments to fund cancer research [1]. Despite this enormous investment, the recently released 2014 World Heath Organization (WHO) Cancer Report suggests that cancer incidence rates and deaths from cancer are on the rise, both in more developed and less developed nations.

Added:06 Feb 2014

Beginning of a new era? Recent advances in biomedical optics light the way to long-awaited clinical translation

For decades biomedical optics has been touted as an ideal tool for diagnosing, monitoring and/or treating a vast array of health conditions owing to low-cost instrumentation, use of non-ionizing radiation, and incomparable sensitivity. All great characteristics; nonetheless, adoptions of optical devices in the clinic have been few and far-between. One could blame regulations, the high cost of...

Added:29 Jan 2014