Translational Biophotonics Cluster

We are a member of the larger Translational Biophotonics Cluster at Northeastern University, a group dedicated to advancing the latest in medical imaging technologies into the clinic.

External Collaborators

Tayyaba Hasan, PhD

Tayyaba is a Professor of Dermatology at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a Professor of Health Sciences and Technology (Harvard-MIT). She was the founding Director of the Office for Research Career Development at Massachusetts General Hospital until 2011.

Tayyaba is a pioneer of photomedicine and has translated new therapies to the clinic. She is an inventor of Visudyne, which has benefited millions of patients around the world suffering from macular degeneration. The Hasan Lab is developing targeted and optically active nanomedicine for cancer in preclinical models while her team also is performing cutting-edge clinical trials using Visudyne-PDT to treat otherwise refractory tumors in patients.

We are developing new approaches to image-guided photomedicine and nanomedicine in collaboration with the Hasan Lab.

Frank W. Wise, PhD

Frank is the Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Engineering Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University. From 2007 to 2011 he served as Director of the School of Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University.

Frank is a pioneer of ultrashort light pulse generation in optical fiber. The Wise Research Group continues to innovate new approaches for generating stable femtosecond pulses of light in single mode and multimode fiber suitable for multiphoton microscopy and endoscopy applications. These innovations are based on the groups efforts to investigate and model the complexity of nonlinear wave propagation in fiber. This research has lead to new insights and practical, low-cost femtosecond fiber lasers that achieve mode-locked generation of pulse energies exceeding the requirements of two- and three-photon microscopy for a variety of wavelengths within the optical window of biological tissue.

We are creating new femtosecond fiber laser technology tailored to fiber-optic fluorescence microendoscopy in collaboration with the Wise Research Group.

Robert S. Knox, PhD

Bob is a Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at the University of Rochester in New York. He was chair of the Department (1969–1973) and Associate Dean for Special Programs in the College (1982–1987). He is the author of the book Theory of Excitons and in 1994 was a co-recipient of the Biological Physics Prize of the American Physical Society in connection with his research on photosynthesis. Although Bob is well-known for these and related seminal contributions listed on his personal website, one of his most cited papers regards photomedicine (photodynamic oxygen consumption)!

We try not to bother Bob with our problems while he enjoys retirement, however, he is always enthused to talk science and contributes insights regarding the intricacies of photophysics, FRET and optical spectroscopy. His critical feedback and encouragement has proven helpful when we contemplate some of our more bold and risky ideas to develop new microscopy approaches.

Bob (left) played frisbee with Theodor Förster (right), possibly to experiment with mechanical energy transfer (as he tells the story), during a retreat organized by David Dexter in 1973. Förster is credited with developing the first correct treatment of resonance excitation transfer, which is widely referred to with the acronym FRET. Curiously, the “F” in FRET originally stood for “fluorescence", although excitation transfer is a non-radiative process that quenches and competes with fluorescence. FRET occurs via a virtual photon in the dipole near field (as opposed to far-field photon emission and reabsorption). "Fluorescence resonance energy transfer" is therefore viewed as a misnomer by many in the field who have adopted "Förster resonance energy transfer".

An interesting bit of trivia — Bob is only 5 degrees of separation from Einstein:

Dow-J-D and Knox-R-S. Excited-state wave functions, excitation energies, and oscillator strengths for krypton and xenon PR 152, 50-56 : 1966

Boivin-A, Dow-J, and Wolf-E. Energy flow in the neighborhood of the focus of a coherent beam JOSA 57, 1171-1175 : 1967

Born-Max and Wolf-Emil. Principles of Optics: Electromagnetic Theory of Propagation; Interference and Diffraction of Light. Pergamon Press, Oxford., ed. 6th : 1980

Born-M and Infeld-L. Foundations of a new field theory. PRS-A 144, 425-451 : 1934

Einstein-A and Infeld-L. The Evolution of Physics: The Growth of Ideas From Early Concepts to Relativity and Quanta. Cambridge U. Press: 1938

Hiroaki Wakimoto, MD, PhD

We are collaborating with Hiroaki and his team at the Brain Tumor Stem Cell Lab (Massachusetts General Hospital) to develop imaging methods for visualizing the glioblastoma stem cell (GSC) tumor microenvironment and to guide photomedicine of drug-resistant tumors. This work is being performed using patient-derived GSC models developed by the Wakimoto group that recapitulate patient-specific disease phenotypes.