News | November 9, 2017

UC Davis Establishes Alliance Of Excellence In Biophotonics With German Leibniz Institute For Photonic Technologies

The University of California, Davis, and the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies (Leibniz-IPHT), in Jena, Germany, have entered an agreement of cooperation to establish the Jena-Davis (JEDIS) Alliance of Excellence in Biophotonics — designed to promote North American-German cooperation on research and development in the field of biophotonics. The project aims to intensify communication between scientists and to stimulate and improve cooperation between the two institutions through scientific conferences, a sustainable exchange program and summer schools.

Working Together to Cast Light on New Solutions for Health Care

Biophotonics is a growing, multidisciplinary research field that uses light-based technologies to answer medical and life science issues. The technologies include modern microscopy, spectroscopy and the use of light as a tool in the form of lasers, with applications ranging from cell biology to surgery. Biophotonics is a scientific discipline of great social importance, which could help scientists and medical care providers overcome current challenges of an aging society, pandemics and highly strained health systems.

Development of these advanced and precise solutions requires a strong network of international scientists from different disciplines, as well as constructive and goal-oriented collaboration of clinical staff and technology developers. The partnership between Leibniz-IPHT and UC Davis will build on joint research work in the field of biophotonics, in particular using different spectroscopic methods for tissue imaging in clinical diagnostics. The JEDIS initiative aims to accelerate this promising scientific collaboration in research and education.

“The focus of our future research is on cancer diagnostics. Combining UC Davis’ expertise in fluorescence lifetime imaging and Leibniz-IPHT’s expertise in Raman-spectroscopy, will allow us to develop new tools for tumor margin detection as well as for staging and grading tumors,” explains Professor Jürgen Popp, coordinator of the project and scientific director at Leibniz-IPHT. “The fast and label-free techniques will provide complementary information about morphological and chemical composition of tissue. Integrated in microscopes or micro-endoscopes, we hope to apply these biophotonic methods for tumor identification during surgery.”

Transatlantic Alliance for Responsible Research and Education

The JEDIS Alliance of Excellence in Biophotonics was awarded €240,000/ $280,000 for three years from the European Recovery Program. Planned activities include scientific conferences in Davis, California and Jena, Germany, a sustainable exchange program, and two first-class summer schools.

“By establishing tandem activities between institutions in Germany and North America, we aim at promoting an exchange of views and dialogue at the interface of biophotonic science, innovation and societal benefit,” said Professor Laura Marcu, who is coordinating the project at UC Davis. “This is urgently needed to tackle current and future global challenges in medicine and life sciences. To strengthen this exchange, we will also establish a joint research laboratory at UC Davis between the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, to bring in competencies in Raman-spectroscopy for clinical diagnostics.”

The JEDIS project will officially start with a kick-off meeting in San Francisco at the end of January 2018. The first scientific event, a summer school with the topic “Clinical Biophotonics,” will take place in September 2018 at Leibniz-IPHT in Jena, Germany.

The project is funded by the Transatlantic Program of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany from the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labor, which aims to keep the memory of George C. Marshall alive and to support the transatlantic partnership. 

SOURCE: UC Davis College of Engineering