Light and sound at the service of medicine and biology

27 March, 2018 News

“There are two ways to shine: either to reflect the light or to emit it yourself,” said the French poet Paul Claudel once. The scientific work of Vasilis Ntziachristos summarises perfectly the deeper meaning of this saying. The Greek professor has been exploring the applications of light for years, and how these lead to new scientific paths. In his speech at the Athens Science Festival 2018 he will take us along to explore these paths together, by discussing the ways in which different forms of light can be used in medicine and biology.

Vital for the evolution of modern medicine, light is widely used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in many fields and disciplines, such as dermatology, endoscopy and surgery. Clearly, or maybe not so, scientists had to overcome the limitations concerning light technology, mainly because it is not possible to “see” under the surface of the tissues with our bare eyes or the use of simple cameras. Vasilis Ntziachristos, currently a Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Electrical Engineering and Director of the Biological Imaging Centre at the University of Munich, attempts to show us how he has overcome these limitations.

Under his guidance, engineers, physicists, computer engineers and biologists work together and develop technologies using both light and sound to “see” under the surface of tissues in the body. The innovative methods of fluorescence and optoacoustic imaging that they develop allow for “detailed” imaging and open new possibilities for the applications of light technology in biology and medicine. At the same time, the inventions and innovations of the Ntziachristos team are exploited in the medical field, leading to better diagnoses and more effective monitoring of certain treatments.

Vasilis Ntziachristos is Chair of the Institute of Biological and Medical Imaging  (IBMI) at the Helmholtz Center and Director of Bioengineering at the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus, a founding member of the TranslaTUM Oncology Research Centre, and the Editor-in-Chief of the peer-review journal Photoacoustics. He has received twice the Innovation Award by the European Research Council, while he has been honoured with the Gold Medal from the Molecular Imaging Society and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz Prize (2013) among many other awards.

Title: Light and Sound: Magic, Science and Entrepreneurship || Date & Time: 29 April, 18.00- 18.50
Vasilis Ntziachristos’ talk at the Athens Science Festival 2018 is supported by the Goethe–Institut Athen.