The fun and fast-paced BiOS Hot Topics session, held the opening night of BiOS/Photonics West 2012 (January 21–27), showcased some of the most fascinating research being done with biophotonics—and kept audience members in their seats late into the evening.
Daniel Palanker of Stanford University described a photovoltaic retinal prosthesis designed to help blind people gain vision, while Beckman Laser Institute's (University of California, Irvine) Brian Wong discussed new applications for optical coherence tomography (OCT) in the head, neck, and upper airway. Coherence imaging for oncology was the focus of two other talks: Duke University's Adam Wax discussed its use for early tumor detection, and Stephen Boppart of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign explained the impact of novel optical sources in this arena.
Speaking of novel sources, Seok Hyun ("Andy") Yun of Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital described work published recently in Nature on a laser made from a human embryonic kidney cell and GFP. Other speakers explained variations on microscopy: For instance, Xingde Li of Johns Hopkins University introduced scanning fiber-optic nonlinear endomicroscopy, while Elizabeth Hillman of Columbia University gave the audience a tour of a living brain using in-vivo microscopy. Another form of imaging was the subject of a talk by Vasilis Ntziachristos of Munich's Technical University: He updated the audience on advances in fluorescence and optoacoustics.