Innovative Imaging Takes Us on a Voyage Into the Eye

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As bio-related technologies continue to advance, it’s fascinating what scientists are able to do — from sensors that can noninvasively detect diseases in the body, and augmented reality tools that allow experienced surgeons to help less-experienced doctors in underrepresented regions, to mobile lidar for air quality monitoring and thermal imaging used by military personnel on the modern battlefield.

Justine Murphy Most recently, biologists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have turned stem cells into a real, human retina, essentially creating their own model with which to examine human development at the cellular level. Right now, they’re using the retina tissue to study the cells that allow humans to see color, but it also could pave the way toward new therapies for eye diseases such as macular degeneration.

Creating retina and related tissue in a lab is quite a feat. It allows scientists to conduct research on the eye without invading an actual person. However, artificial organs and tissues cannot always replace the real thing when it comes to studying and understanding diseases that happen in live humans — research of the eye included.

Cue advancements in adaptive optics and ophthalmic imaging. These are giving scientists a deeper look into the living retina than ever before.

In our cover story, “Hand-Held AO Ophthalmoscopy Enables Cellular-Level Imaging,” Duke University’s Derek Nankivil, Joseph Izatt, and Sina Farsiu explore the expanding ability to image and study the living retina at the cellular level. And it’s being done with new, portable, hand-held adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy technology (read article).

Also featured this month:
  • John Wingerd of Siskiyou Corp. discusses new techniques for life science research, (read article). In “Optimizing Probe Positioning for Life Science Research,” he details how the study of biological samples is getting a boost from advances in optomechanical probe positioners.

  • In “Quantitative Phase Imaging Advances Disease Detection,” (read article), Valentin Genuer, Ph.D., from Phasics Corp., delves into quantitative phase imaging. Combining this with Raman microspectroscopy is laying the groundwork for quicker, automated detection of infectious diseases, including malaria.

  • Nearly all molecules in the universe interact with IR raditation, making Fourier transform IR (FTIR) spectroscopy a strong, universal method to investigate biological systems. In “FTIR Spectroscopy: A Comprehensive Biological Investigator,” Daniel Mann, Carsten Kötting, and Klaus Gerwert of Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany detail how samples in FTIR spectroscopy can be investigated label-free and at room temperature in solution. (read article)

  • In this month’s Biopinion (read article), Alexis Vogt, Ph.D., of Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y., discusses a growing biophotonics revolution. Technology in this field continues to advance, yet the workforce supporting it has begun to lag behind. In this column, Vogt details how players throughout the biophotonics community must come together to ensure a strong future for this field.

Published: November 2018
EditorialBiophotonicsJustine Murphy

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