Molecular imaging pioneer to receive 2017 SPIE Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award

Molecular imaging pioneer Christopher Contag is the recipient of the SPIE Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award for 2017.

SPIE has named molecular imaging pioneer Christopher Contag of Stanford University (California) as the recipient of the Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award for 2017, an award that is is presented annually in recognition of outstanding lifetime contributions to the field of biomedical optics through the development of innovative, high-impact technologies.

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Contag will accept the award at SPIE Photonics West 2017, to take place January 28 - February 2 in San Francisco, CA. There, he will give a talk on his work during the Biomedical Optics Symposium (BiOS) Hot Topics session the evening of January 28th. A frequent contributor to the event, he has authored more than three dozen proceedings papers in the SPIE Digital Library, and nearly 20 articles in the Journal of Biomedical Optics (published by SPIE).

Contag is associate chief of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine at Stanford University, director of Stanford's Center for Innovation in In Vivo Imaging (SCI3), and co-director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS). He is also a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Radiology, and Microbiology and Immunology, as well as a member of Bio-X faculty for interdisciplinary sciences and the Immunology faculty.

Contag's lab uses biological sources of light to image key biological processes in living mammals. This work included in vivo bioluminescent images (BLIs) of bacterial infection, gene expression patterns, stem cell biology, cancer growth, and transplantation biology of solid organs and responses to therapy.

His laboratory now develops macroscopic and microscopic optical imaging tools that have enabled in vivo studies of drug targets and agents such that every large drug company now uses BLI to accelerate drug development.

In its citation, the SPIE Awards Committee commended Contag for his significant changes to the way we study biology in living tissue through his invention of in vivo optical imaging using bioluminescent and fluorescent reporters. This invention is one of the most significant advances in biomedical research in recent history, the citation noted.

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