Edmund Optics' (EO; Barrington, NJ) 2014 Educational Award program, which recognizes outstanding undergraduate and graduate optics programs at non-profit colleges and universities, was dominated by winners in biophotonics. Forty-five global finalists were selected, with applications ranging from a compact NIR-visible dual-channel fluorescence imaging system for image-guided cancer surgery to water quality assessment using high-resolution microscopy.
Over $85,000 USD in EO products have been awarded to gold, silver, and bronze winners in the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Well over half of the winners are involved in life sciences work. For instance, the Gold Award winner in the Americas, Gang Yao from the University of Missouri, developed a portable device to screen for neurodevelopmental disorders in young children based on dynamic pupillary light reflect (PLR). The noninvasive test analyzes dynamic changes in pupil size in response to a short flash of light, and promises early diagnosis of autism.
In Asia, the Gold Award went to Masahiro Motosuke from Tokyo University of Science for advancement of micro-chips for detection of light scattering, which can contribute to the development of compact, portable flow cytometry systems designed for deployment in developing areas. The ultimate goal is for doctors in developing countries or impoverished regions to be able to use portable cytometry systems for patient visits.