Thursday, October 11, 2012

FiO poised for lots of bio

Next week's Frontiers in Optics 2012, the Optical Society's annual meeting held in Rochester, NY and known as FiO, has a schedule packed with biophotonics and bio-optics research to be presented.

On Monday morning, October 17, Plenary Session speaker David R. Williams of the University of Rochester will describe use of adaptive optics for imaging single cells in the living retina, enabling microscopic views with unprecedented detail. Other biomedical applications employing adaptive optics are on the schedule as well.

FiO will feature quite a bit on point-of-care applications, too: Stephen Boppart of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) will speak about optical coherence tomography (OCT) solutions for primary care physicians, and Holger Schmidt of the University of California-Santa Cruz will cover using optofluidics for molecular diagnostics.

Microscopy and OCT research will round out the bio offering. Elizabeth Hillman of Columbia University and Chris Xu of Cornell will each explore imaging of the living brain; Jeff Squier of the Colorado School of Mines will discuss multiphoton microscopy; and Gabriel Popescu of UIUC and Jerome Mertz of Boston University will talk about novel phase microscopy methods. In OCT, Zhongping Chen of the University of California-Irvine will cover intravascular applications, while David Huang of the Casey Eye Institute will discuss application to corneal imaging.

Please be sure to watch for tweets from the show floor while BioOptics World is there -- if you don't follow us already, just go to

Monday, October 1, 2012

Take 10 minutes now

What if just 10 minutes could make a big difference? This is Science Advocacy Week (October 1-5, 2012), when your 10 minutes, added to my 10 minutes, added to 10 minutes from scientists across the nation adds up to a spotlight on bio-optics in particular, and science in general.

Not everyone understands how important basic research is--a fact that is unfortunate at best and, in the case of elected officials, potentially devastating. This week presents a great opportunity to heighten the profile of your work and its impact. 

Next week the news media will report the 2012 Nobel Prizes in science, and when President Obama’s correspondence office staff sorts through incoming messages to pass along to the president, they look for examples that are timely, compelling, and representative of topics in the news (according to Mike Kelleher, former director of that office). So the timing's perfect; let’s do what we can to see that science topics dominate the in boxes of our elected officials this week.  

A nice page on the website makes it super easy to send the same message to all of your federal lawmakers at once. Very cool!  

When composing your message, keep in mind that just last month, lawmakers heard highlights from the NRC’s new Optics & Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation report, which discussed the importance of these technologies in life sciences among many other areas.    

Also keep in mind these tips, drawn from
o  Be polite.
o  Keep it short and accessible to laymen, and write to the interests of those who will read it.
o  Be personable, be yourself.
o  Don’t be shy, don’t use all caps.
o  Contact only your own lawmakers (using this link ensures you will), and make it clear at the top of your message that you are a constituent

I always like to give to charity when there’s an opportunity for matching donations, and I think this week’s advocacy campaign amounts to about the same thing in the interests of science. Let’s add our voices to those of the American Society for Cell Biology and the and the Genetics Society of America. Please join me in going to bat for bio-optics.