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Biomedical Optics & Medical Imaging

Lihong Wang: Photoacoustic tomography bridges gap between optical and nonoptical imaging

Clinical applications of PAT include imaging of parameters associated with cancer, offering the prospect of earlier detection.
27 June 2012, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201206.04

Lihong Wang earned his PhD degree at Rice University, under the tutelage of Robert Curl, Richard Smalley, and Frank Tittel and currently holds the Gene K. Beare Distinguished Professorship of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.

His book entitled Biomedical Optics: Principles and Imaging, one of the first textbooks in the field, received the Joseph W. Goodman Book Writing Award. He also coauthored a book on polarization and edited the first book on photoacoustic tomography. Wang has published more than 300 peer-reviewed journal articles and delivered over 330 keynote, plenary or invited talks.

His laboratory invented or discovered functional photoacoustic tomography, 3D photoacoustic microscopy (PAM), the photoacoustic Doppler effect, photoacoustic reporter gene imaging, focused scanning microwave-induced thermoacoustic tomography, the universal photoacoustic or thermoacoustic reconstruction algorithm, frequency-swept ultrasound-modulated optical tomography, time-reversed ultrasonically encoded (TRUE) optical focusing, sonoluminescence tomography, Mueller-matrix optical coherence tomography, optical coherence computed tomography, and oblique-incidence reflectometry. In particular, PAM broke through the long-standing diffusion limit to the penetration of conventional optical microscopy and reached super-depths for noninvasive biochemical, functional, and molecular imaging in living tissue at high resolution. His Monte Carlo model of photon transport in scattering media is used worldwide.

He has received 31 research grants as the principal investigator with a cumulative budget of >$34M. He is a Fellow of the AIMBE, OSA, IEEE and SPIE. He is the editor-in-chief of the SPIE Journal of Biomedical Optics. He chairs the annual conference on Photons plus Ultrasound, part of the Biomedical Optics symposium at SPIE Photonics West. He was awarded the C. E. K. Mees Medal, IEEE's Technical Achievement Award for "seminal contributions to photoacoustic tomography and Monte Carlo modeling of photon transport in biological tissues and for leadership in the international biophotonics community."