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Biomedical Optics & Medical Imaging

Rainer Leitgeb: Developing OCT as a clinical tool in dermatology and beyond

Optical coherence tomography is now used effectively for diagnosing carcinomas, but melanoma remains a challenge.

22 April 2013, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201304.03

Rainer Leitgeb is Associate Professor at the Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at the Medical University of Vienna (Austria). The focus of his research lab (LeitgebLab) is functional optical tomography, label free vascular imaging, as well as advanced microscopy. Door-to-door collaborations allow easy translation of the developments in his lab to their clinical adaption, in particular in dermatology and ophthalmology.

His group has developed a skin OCT scanner based on high-speed swept-source OCT with dedicated scanning patterns and post-processing schemes that can, in a completely label-free way, contrast even small capillaries fully depth-resolved within skin.

Leitgeb received his degree in engineering and the PhD degree in Theoretical Physics with distinction from Technical University of Vienna in 1995 and 1998, respectively, along with a Physics diploma with distinction from the University of Kent, (Canterbury, UK) in 1995. Since 2004 he has been Associate Professor at the Medical University of Vienna in the field of Medical Physics specializing in Biomedical Optics. From 2004 to 2007 he was invited to the EPFL Lausanne to join the Laboratoire d'Optique Biomedical where he led research in Coherent Optics, in particular Optical Coherence Tomography.

He is a member of SPIE, and chairs the Optical Coherence Tomography and Coherence Techniques conference at the European Conference on Biomedical Optics in Munich, Germany (May 2013). In 2007 he received the ARVO/Alcon early career clinician scientist research award and a recognition for his initial contributions to the new generation of ophthalmic OCT at Carl Zeiss Meditec. He holds several patents in the field of OCT and is the author of more than 100 publications, including book chapters and peer-reviewed journal papers.