Irene Georgakoudi

Irene Georgakoudi - 2017 SPIE Women in Optics Planner

Associate Professor
Tufts University, Biomedical Engineering Dept., USA

Irene Georgakoudi

Country of Birth: Greece
Country of Residence: USA
Educational Background: BA in Physics, Dartmouth College; PhD in Biophysics, University of Rochester

What drew me to science and engineering was problem solving. I enjoyed the challenge and the process of mastering methods that could be put together to discover something new or to understand how something worked.

I teach classes in the area of biophotonics and technical writing and presentations. I also supervise the research and laboratory training of young scientists and engineers. This research focuses on the development of new techniques that exploit interactions between light and living tissues and can ultimately help us detect diseases earlier or understand how they develop so we can treat them better. I work closely with medical doctors, tissue engineers, biologists, and biochemists. I travel to conferences to present our findings and write manuscripts to disseminate this new knowledge to the broader scientific and medical community.

Balancing the demands of an academic career, family obligations, and personal time has been a challenge, as I lost my spouse almost seven years ago, when my kids were young. Learning to set priorities and understanding that it is OK to make compromises and not expect perfection in every aspect of life has helped me maintain a positive attitude.

I firmly believe that STEM training provides the strongest foundation for an exciting and fulfilling career in diverse areas that extend far beyond the traditional image of a lonely scientist. Create a network of colleagues and mentors as early as possible and get comfortable interacting with people working in areas outside of your comfort zone to ensure that you have the chance to mold your career into a path that YOU find fascinating.

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