March 20, 2006, Durham, NC--Tuan Vo-Dinh, a pioneer in the field of photonics at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has joined the department of biomedical engineering at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering, where he will serve as director of the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics.
Vo-Dinh said he plans to establish Duke as a national "center of gravity" for photonics research by tapping into the breadth of faculty expertise and facilities at the Pratt School, as well as Duke's Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and Medical Center.
"Photonics has been at the heart of the information technology revolution, and it can have similar impact in many critical areas such as medicine at the point-of-care, molecular manufacturing, national defense and global health," Vo-Dinh said. "Optical technology will lead to tools that can provide real-time, non-invasive diagnostics. This could change the course of medicine in diagnosing early stages of disease because no tissue has to be removed and the diagnosis is made instantly."
Vo-Dinh plans to build on the Fitzpatrick Institute's established strengths of its faculty in biophotonics, nano/microsystems, optical materials and quantum information technology, and intends to further extend research programs to new areas such as nanophotonics. One of the institute's goals is to emphasize translational research activities that put technology into the service of society.
Vo-Dinh earned a Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zurich, Switzerland. He joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1977 as a staff research scientist and became director of the Center for Advanced Biomedical Photonics at ORNL in 2003. He holds more than 30 patents and his inventions are being used in environmental, biological, and medical applications.