The new SPIE-Franz Hillenkamp Postdoctoral Fellowship in Problem-Driven Biophotonics and Biomedical Optics will provide training opportunities for translating new technologies to clinical practice for improving human health.
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, has partnered with four international biomedical optics laboratories in establishing the program — the Wellman Center for Photomedicine and the Manstein Lab in the Cutaneous Biology Research Center, both at Massachusetts General Hospital (US), Medical Laser Center Lübeck (Germany) and the Beckman Laser Institute at University of California, Irvine (US) — and the Hillenkamp family to establish the SPIE-Hillenkamp Fellowship.
The program was introduced in February during SPIE Photonics West and announced during SPIE Optics + Photonics in San Diego by SPIE President Glenn Boreman.
The SPIE-Franz Hillenkamp Postdoctoral Fellowship honors the distinguished career of medical laser pioneer Franz Hillenkamp as a researcher, teacher and mentor who had enormous international impact.
Young investigators with PhD, MD or equivalent degrees are eligible to apply. There are no restrictions on geographical location; however, applicants and hosting labs must propose original research in biomedical optics that is expected to lead to new diagnostics and/or therapeutics in medicine and biology.
An annual award of $75000 will support interdisciplinary problem-driven research and provide specific training opportunities for translating new technologies to clinical practice for improving human health.
Hillenkamp, a German scientist, had strong ties to each of the four SPIE-Hillenkamp Fellowship founding labs. He introduced the first medical laser applications laboratory and marked the genesis of translational research in biomedical optics in Europe in the 1970s, conducting application-oriented R&D in the areas of photo coagulation and photo disruption in ophthalmology, laser therapy of bladder tumors, laser-induced hemostasis in gastric ulcers, and laser bone surgery.
He was the developer of the laser microprobe mass analyzer and co-inventor of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI). Both instruments have become widely used by biologists, physicians and scientists to analyze bio-molecular structures.
More than $910000 has been pledged to endow the fellowship, and SPIE has agreed to a 1:1 donation in matching funds.
The inaugural Hillenkamp Fellowship Committee, chaired by SPIE Fellow R Rox Anderson, director of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, is seeking additional contributions and additional lab participants.