BIOPHOTONICS EDUCATION: Graduate Summer School emphasizes excellence

Every other year, the Laser, World of Photonics event is THE destination in Europe for optoelectronics industry–and increasingly for the growing application of bio-optics. The past four times (that is, since 2003) the show has been immediately preceded by another European event of interest to young life scientists and optics innovators: the Biophotonics International Graduate Summer School.

Conceived and organized by Professors Stefan Andersson-Engels, Department of Physics, Lund University (Sweden) and Peter E. Andersen, Department of Photonics Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, the week-long school aims to provide high-level photonics education for graduate students and post docs in both the technical and medical sciences. With key support from Photonics for Life (P4L), a European network of Excellence for biophotonics, the school has attracted the unpaid participation of renowned lecturers from all over the world to its location on the resort island of Ven, Sweden. This year, for instance, the list of lecturers included such luminaries as Kishan Dholakia (University of St. Andrews, UK), Stefan Hell (Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany), and Bruce Tromberg (Beckman Laser Institute, Irvine, CA). Attendees are selected on the basis of work and results submitted for peer review. Numbering 72 this year, they presented their findings during two poster sessions.

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“The level of these two sessions was at an outstanding high level both in terms of the scientific content and the presentations themselves,” said Andersen and Andersson-Engels–who served as judges for the Best Poster Awards competition along with Dholakia and fellow lecturers Steven L. Jacques, Eva Sevick-Muraca, Katarina Svanberg, Roy Taylor, and Hubert van den Bergh. The competition, sponsored by Thorlabs Sweden AB, honored the winner, Sebastian Berning of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Göttingen, Germany), with a 400 Euro cash prize. Berning discussed development of a stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscope for super-resolution tissue imaging at depths exceeding 100 microns. “The results are very promising,” said Berning, noting that the complexity of the optical setup can be “kept on a well-manageable level.”

Five honorable mentions went to:

  • Torsten Frosch, University Jena (Germany) for his poster titled “Raman spectroscopic investigation of drug-target-interactions.”
  • Anita Gollmer, University of Aarhus (Denmark) for her presentation, “Detection of singlet oxygen using fluorescent chemical traps in sub-cellular domains of a single cell.”
  • Pier-Anne Lachance, University of Texas Health Science Center (Houston) for the topic “Validation of IRDye800 conjugated peptides imaging agent targeted to integrin a9 for optical imaging of lymphangiogenesis.”
  • William Lo, University of Toronto (Canada) for his report on “Hardware-accelerated Monte Carlo Simulation for PDT Treatment Planning using FPGAs and GPUs.”
  • Tilman Schmoll, Medical University Vienna (Austria) for the poster presentation titled, “In-vivo Assessment of Photoreceptor Response with Functional Optical Coherence Microscopy.”
    –Barbara G. Goode

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