Photoacoustic imaging pioneer is 2015 Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award winner

Photoacoustic imaging innovator Lihong Wang, whose research enables noninvasive examination of tissues inside the body at deep levels, has been awarded the 2015 Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award for his pioneering technical contributions and visionary leadership in the development and application of photoacoustic tomography, photoacoustic microscopy, and photon transport modeling. Wang will receive his award at the start of the BiOS Hot Topics session on February 7, 2015, at SPIE Photonics West 2015 in San Francisco, CA.

Photoacoustic imaging pioneer Lihong Wang
Lihong Wang

Photoacoustic tomography is expected to impact biology and medicine broadly by providing multiscale in vivo functional and molecular imaging of structures ranging from subcellular organelles to organs, enabling a noninvasive look at subcutaneous tissue at a deep level.

Wang’s laboratory invented or discovered:

  • Functional photoacoustic tomography;
  • 3D photoacoustic microscopy;
  • The photoacoustic Doppler effect;
  • Photoacoustic reporter gene imaging;
  • Focused scanning microwave-induced thermoacoustic tomography;
  • Universal photoacoustic reconstruction algorithm;
  • Frequency-swept ultrasound-modulated optical tomography;
  • Time-reversed ultrasonically encoded (TRUE) optical focusing;
  • Sonoluminescence tomography;
  • Mueller-matrix OCT;
  • Optical coherence computed tomography; and
  • Oblique-incidence reflectometry.

Wang holds the Gene K. Beare Distinguished Professorship of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, and is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biomedical Optics. The book Biomedical Optics: Principles and Imaging co-authored by Wang and Hsin-I Wu won the 2010 Joseph W. Goodman Book Award, and was recognized as the most practical text in the field in the Britton Chance Award citation.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Wang a $1.1 million grant to research how to image the electrical activity of neurons deep inside the brain, in conjunction with the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative. The initiative is a part of President Obama's focus on accelerating the development of innovative technologies that help understand the human brain. Wang's project information is available on

The Britton Chance award is presented annually by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, in recognition of outstanding lifetime contributions to the field of biomedical optics through the development of innovative, high-impact technologies. For more information, please visit


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