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Biophotonics graduate summer school on Ven continues tradition of success

27 June 2013

Biophotonics '13 Summer School on Ven Island
Participants gathered on the island of Ven this month for the sixth biennial Graduate Summer School in Biophotonics.


BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA, and VEN, Sweden -- The biennial International Graduate Summer School in Biophotonics held on the Swedish island of Ven 8-15 June continued its tradition of great success as an event for education, scientific exchange and networking, organizers report.

The school is organized in collaboration with SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, which contributes substantial funding. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, through its Nobel Institute for Physics, also provides a substantial grant. Other financial support comes from the Danish Optical Society, NKT Photonics A/S, Lund Laser Centre, and Thorlabs Sweden.

Launched in 2003 as a collaboration between the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Lund University, the school has established the region as a lighthouse within biophotonics, said organizers Stefan Andersson-Engels from Lund and Peter Andersen from DTU. The event is designed to attract the very best researchers as lecturers along with the very best students, Andersen said. This year's participants included 56 students from 19 countries and 11 lecturers representing 5 countries.

"The diversity of students by geography, gender and research fields was very good this year," said Katarina Svanberg (Lund University Hospital), a past president of SPIE. "Having taught at many summer schools, I again observed that the Ven school maintains a very high level of quality, with spirited discussions between teachers and students and excellent possibilities for networking. Support from SPIE is very important, and demonstrates the value of such an activity for training the new generation of scientists from all over the world."

Topics covered lasers and their application in medicine, with lectures by:

  • Kishan Dholakia (University of St. Andrews) on "Optical micromanipulation for biophotonics"
  • Wolfgang Drexler (Medical University of Vienna) on "Optical coherence tomography"
  • Paul French (Imperial College London) on "Multidimensional fluorescence imaging and metrology"
  • Stefan Hell (Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry) on "Nanoscopy"
  • Steven Jacques (Oregon Health Sciences University)  on "Tissue optics"
  • Konstantin Lukyanov (Laboratory of Molecular Technologies, Russian Academy of Sciences) on "Genetically encoded tools for optical imaging and control of cells and organisms"
  • Eric Potma (University of California, Irvine) on "Biomolecular imaging with coherent Raman scattering microscopy"
  • Katarina Svanberg (Lund University Hospital) on "Strategies for cancer treatment using lasers and photodynamic therapy"
  • Roy Taylor (Imperial College London) on "Supercontinuum light sources and lasers"
  • Bruce Tromberg (University of California, Beckman Laser Institute) on "Medical imaging in thick tissues using diffuse optics"
  • Lihong Wang (Washington University in St. Louis) on "Photoacoustic tomography: ultrasonically breaking through the optical diffusion limit".

The school provides training in highly relevant topics, participants noted.

Biophotonics '13 poster winners
Kari Vienola won the SPIE Best Poster award at Biophotonics '13.
From left: Peter Andersenco-founder and co-organizer of the
school); Idan Steinberg and Kelsey Kennedy, runners-up for the
award; Vienola; and SPIE Past President and school lecturer
Katarina Svanberg.

"We are at an exciting and important juncture in interdisciplinary science. We know the many burgeoning needs for healthcare and quality of life. Photonics can add a lot to early diagnosis, treatment and understanding fundamental biomedicine. So it is crucial that we have ways to enthuse, train and inspire young people to engage and emerge as new leaders in this challenging but very rewarding topic," Dholakia said. "The Ven summer school is an exemplar in this regard, and a benchmark for organization, exceptional standard of lecturers, courses and social interactions."

The 2013 SPIE Poster Award went to Kari Vienola (Rotterdam Eye Hospital). Kelsey Kennedy (University of Western Australia) and Idan Steinberg (Tel Aviv University) were runners-up.  Posters are viewable on the event website, along with lecturers' slide presentations:  www.biop.dk/biophotonics13/After/After.asp. (Photos are posted on the SPIE Facebook page: ow.ly/mrHy6).

Accepted papers from the school and review articles by Drexler and Potma will be published July 2014 in a special section in the Journal of Biomedical Optics entitled "Selected Topics in Biophotonics: Optical Coherence Tomography, and Biomolecular Imaging With Coherent Raman Scattering Microscopy." Andersson-Engels and Andersen will be guest editors.

Biophotonics '15, is scheduled for 13-20 June 2015. Lecturers and topics are listed online, at www.biop.dk/Biophotonics15.

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves more than 235,000 constituents from approximately 155 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional networking, and patent precedent. SPIE provided over $3.2 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2012. Learn more at www.spie.org.


Media contact:
Amy Nelson
Public Relations Manager, SPIE
+1 360 685 5478