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SPIE Professional July 2013

Successful Summer School in Biophotonics

The biennial International Graduate Summer School in Biophotonics held on the Swedish island of Ven 8-15 June 2013 continued its tradition of success as an event for education, scientific exchange, and networking, organizers report.

The school is organized in collaboration with SPIE, which contributes substantial funding. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, through its Nobel Institute for Physics, also provides a substantial grant. Other financial support comes from the Danish Optical Society, NKT Photonics A/S, Lund Laser Centre, and Thorlabs Sweden.

Launched in 2003 as a collaboration between the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Lund University, the school is designed to attract top researchers as lecturers along with the very best students in biophotonics, say organizers Stefan Andersson-Engels from Lund and Peter Andersen from DTU.

This year's participants included 56 students from 19 countries and 11 lecturers representing 5 countries.

"The diversity of students by geography, gender, and research fields was very good this year," said past SPIE President Katarina Svanberg, of Lund University Hospital (Sweden), one of the lecturers.

"Having taught at many summer schools, I again observed that the Ven school maintains a very high level of quality, with spirited discussions between teachers and students and excellent possibilities for networking," she said. "Support from SPIE is very important and demonstrates the value of such an activity for training the new generation of scientists from all over the world."

The week-long school covered the basics of lasers and their application in medicine; tissue optics; fluorescent biomarkers; photodynamic therapy; optical trapping and manipulation and their applications in biophotonics; biomedical imaging including optical coherence tomography, diffusion tomography, photo-acoustic imaging, fluorescence life-time imaging, nanoscopy with focused light, and coherent Raman scattering microscopy.

Lecturers included:

  • SPIE Fellow Kishan Dholakia, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St Andrews, UK (Optical micromanipulation for biophotonics)
  • SPIE Senior Member Wolfgang Drexler, Medical University of Vienna, Austria (Optical coherence tomography)
  • Paul French, Imperial College London, UK (Multidimensional fluorescence imaging and metrology)
  • Stefan W. Hell, Department of NanoBiophotonics, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany (Nanoscopy)
  • SPIE Fellow Steven Jacques, Oregon Health & Science University, USA (Tissue optics)
  • Konstantin Lukyanov, Laboratory of Molecular Technologies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia (Genetically Encoded Tools For Optical Imaging And Control Of Cells And Organisms)
  • Eric O. Potma, University of California, Irvine, USA (Biomolecular Imaging With Coherent Raman Scattering Microscopy)
  • Svanberg, (Strategies for cancer treatment using lasers and photodynamic therapy)
  • Roy Taylor, Imperial College London, Department of Physics, UK (Supercontinuum light sources and lasers)
  • SPIE Fellow Bruce Tromberg, University of California, Beckman Laser Institute, USA (Medical imaging in thick tissues using diffuse optics)
  • SPIE Fellow Lihong Wang, Washington University in St. Louis, Department of Biomedical Engineering, USA (Photoacoustic Tomography: Ultrasonically Breaking through the Optical Diffusion Limit)

SPIE Best Poster Award 2013

photo of poster prize winners at VenAn integral part of the school includes student presentations and the Biophotonics ‘13 program included three poster sessions.

The SPIE Poster Award was presented to Kari Vienola, a graduate student at Rotterdam Eye Hospital (The Netherlands).

Runners-up were Kelsey Kennedy and Idan Steinberg.

Pictured, left to right, are: Peter Andersen; Steinberg, Kennedy, Vienola, and Katarina Svanberg.

Organizers of the event have also arranged for a special section to appear in the Journal of Biomedical Optics (JBO) in July 2014 entitled "Selected Topics in Biophotonics: Optical Coherence Tomography, and Biomolecular Imaging With Coherent Raman Scattering Microscopy" comprising review papers and contributed papers from the school.

The special section reflects the core topics of the school and spans the fields of optical coherence tomography and CARS microscopy. Andersson-Engels and Andersen will be editors on this special section. Drexler and Potma will contribute review articles.

The first school was held on Island of Ven, a small Swedish island, in June 2003. Organizers were overwhelmed with the positive feedback from students and lecturers and decided to organize a successor. Ten years later, the school is now running every other year and is scheduled in coordination with the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics and the Laser World of Photonics in Munich (Germany).


The seventh school, Biophotonics ‘15, is scheduled for 13-20 June 2015. Specific topics to be addressed  and the names of the lecturers will be listed on the school website.


DOI: 10.1117/2.4201307.42

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