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CCNY's Robert Alfano wins first biomedical optics award
Date:1/6/2012

A scientific innovator from The City College of New York (CCNY) whose research unites the divergent fields of medicine, biology and high-speed laser physics will be honored this month for his pioneering work in biomedical optics by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

SPIE will present Dr. Robert Alfano, CUNY Distinguished Professor of Science and Engineering at CCNY, with the first annual Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award January 23 at the SPIE Photonics West Conference in San Francisco.

The Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award "honors contributions to optical methods and devices that have significant promise to accelerate or have already facilitated new discoveries in biology or medicine," according to SPIE. Specifically, Professor Alfano and his colleagues use optical spectroscopy to make smarter tools to detect and image cancer.

"I am elated," Professor Alfano said. "It shows that people believe what we're doing will help people."

"Both Britt (Britton Chance) and Bob were original pioneers of our field and their work has had an extraordinary impact. Bob has helped accelerate the growth of biomedical optics and biophotonicsmuch like Professor Chance, through his passion to develop new optical instruments," said Dr. Bruce Tromberg, the chair of SPIE's award subcommittee.

Professor Alfano's work essentially uses the color of light emitted and scattered from cells and tissues in place of surgical biopsies and other conventional diagnostic techniques. The non-invasive "optical biopsy" method gives molecular information on the spot. His techniques can eliminate the wait for test results and reduce the physical trauma of surgery, since there is no need to remove tissue unless cancer is found.

"This field was nonexistent before 1984. That's when we discovered you could use the colors of light to detect cancer," Professor Alfano said. He has collaborated first with Columbia Presbyteria
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Contact: Jessa Netting
jnetting@ccny.cuny.edu
212-650-7615
City College of New York
Source:Eurekalert

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