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Biomedical Optics & Medical Imaging

Adam Wax video: Early cancer detection with scattered light

Light scattering and interferometry probe the biophysical properties of cells for diagnosis of disease and fundamental cell-biology studies.
8 March 2012, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201203.01

The study of intact, living cells and tissues using noninvasive optical spectroscopic methods offers the opportunity to assess structure and organization in a way that is not possible with traditional methods. In the lab of Adam Wax at Duke University, novel spectroscopic techniques are used to assess cell structure and diagnose disease using low-coherence interferometry (LCI) to detect scattered light. Angle-resolved LCI (a/LCI) combines the ability of LCI to isolate scattering from sub-surface tissue layers with the ability of light scattering spectroscopy to obtain structural information using angular scattering measurements. Fourier domain LCI (fLCI) is an alternate approach assessing the properties of biological cells and tissues based on measuring depth resolved spectroscopic information.

Adam Wax received his PhD in physics from Duke University (Durham, NC) in 1999. He joined the George R. Harrison Spectroscopy Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as a postdoctoral fellow of the National Institutes of Health immediately after his doctorate. He joined the faculty of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University in the fall of 2002. He is currently the Theodore Kennedy associate professor of biomedical engineering at Duke and Chairman of Oncoscope, Inc., founded in 2006 to commercialize early cancer detection technology developed in his laboratory. His research interests are in the use of light scattering and interferometry to probe the biophysical properties of cells for both diagnosis of disease and fundamental cell biology studies. He was interviewed for SPIE Newsroom at SPIE Photonics West 2012.