Friday, August 10, 2012

OCT systems and application workshop plans growth

Last week I got to spend a little time with attendees at the first annual workshop of the Center for Biomedical OCT Research and Translation (CBORT) in Boston, and by all accounts the event was top shelf. With a focus on optical coherence tomography (OCT) and a mission to pioneer and provide access to microscopic imaging instruments for biologic and clinical research, CBORT was established in 2009 at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School, and in 2011 became a National Biomedical Resource Center; the group’s work is highlighted in an article in the July/August 2012 issue of BioOptics World (see OCT for oncology: Preclinical progress highlights clinical potential).

The two-day inaugural workshop, titled OCT: Technical Foundations and Systematic Implementation, brought together a select group of 18 engineers and researchers--from academia and industry around the country and the world--for intense theoretical and practical training of OCT principles and functionality taught by leaders in OCT, including CBORT principal investigator Brett Bouma, Professor of Dermatology and Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard Medical School and Associate Physicist in the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at MGH. The instructors covered light source development, signal processing and system calibration, system integration, imaging probes, and image processing and interpretation.

"Ultimately, it is our mission through these educational programs to further the OCT field and facilitate the widespread acceptance of this technology in research and clinical medicine," said CBORT administrative director Jacqueline Namati, Ph.D. Nemati notes that the workshop will likely expand in the future from a two-day event to "a week-long program with sessions catered to clinicians, engineers, physicists, and biologists."

This is exciting because CBORT--which receives funding from the National Center for Research Resources and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering--aims to help advance OCT technology to identify new methods for diagnosis and insights into disease, and formulate new therapeutic strategies or drug targets. A major goal of the center is to cultivate strategic research collaborations and application-specific OCT instrumentation and hardware. All of this activity promises to boost OCT technology even further along the path Eric Swanson describes in his two-part article titled One decade and $500M: The impact of federal funding on OCT. For more information on the center, see CBORT’s website:

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