Laura Waller honored with SPIE Early Career Achievement Award – Academia

In a ceremony during the Opto Plenary Session at Photonics West, Dr. Laura Waller was awarded SPIE's 2018 Early Career Achievement Award - Academia

29 January 2018

Laura Waller receives the SPIE Early Career Achievement Award

Dr. Laura Waller receives the Early Career Achievement Award -- Academia, from Opto Symposium Chair Connie J. Chang-Hasnain (far left), 2018 SPIE President Maryellen Giger (near left) and Opto Symposium Chair Graham T. Reed (far right) at the SPIE Photonics West Opto Plenary session

Dr. Laura Waller, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at University of California, Berkeley, is the recipient of the 2018 SPIE Early Career Achievement Award in the academic category. Dr. Waller is being honored for her contributions to biomedical and industrial science through development of computational imaging hardware and software for phase retrieval, 3D imaging, and partially coherent systems.

She heads the Computational Imaging Lab at UC Berkeley, which develops methods for designing imaging systems and algorithms jointly in terms of hardware and software. She received her BS, MEng and PhD degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her recent work on compressive sensing and microscopy has opened new opportunities for rapid measurement of diverse object features. She has shown a particular talent for combining advanced mathematical and physical concepts in novel instrument design.

"Computational imaging is a subtle field," says SPIE Fellow David Brady, the Michael J. Fitzpatrick Endowed Professor of Photonics at Duke University. "As with many fields, hype sometimes exceeds reality. Professor Waller's work stands out in its consistent scholarly depth and realistic application analysis." Brady adds that within Waller's core expertise with coherence analysis and phase retrieval, she is "clearly the world-leading expert."

"This award is a great honor and means a lot to me coming from SPIE," says Dr. Waller. "My thanks go to all the students, postdocs and faculty colleagues who contribute to my group's work in making new microscopes and cameras for pushing the limits of science and engineering, and, of course, to the funding agencies that make our work possible."

Dr. Waller is a Moore Foundation Data-Driven Investigator, Bakar Fellow, NSF CAREER awardee, and Packard Fellow. As part of Photonics West 2018, she is giving an invited presentation on "Fast Large-scale 3D Fluorescence Microscopy For Dynamic Samples" and sits on the program committee for multiple conferences including "Adaptive Optics and Wavefront Control for Biological Systems IV"; High-Speed Biomedical Imaging and Spectroscopy III: Toward Big Data Instrumentation and Management,"; and  "Quantitative Phase Imaging IV".

The award was presented to Dr. Waller during the Opto Plenary Session, part of SPIE Photonics West, on Monday, 29 January.  

The SPIE Early Career Achievement Award is presented in recognition of significant and innovative technical contributions in the engineering or scientific fields of relevance to SPIE. Two awards are available for presentation each year recognizing excellence in the areas of 1) academic and 2) industry/government. 

About SPIE SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, is an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2017, SPIE provided $4 million in support of education and outreach programs.  

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