SPIE BiOS Elevates Single-Cell Investigations in Science and Medicine

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The SPIE BiOS Expo will once again kick off Photonics West 2024, with an exhibition of notable companies in biomedical optics as well as numerous sessions highlighting research during the weekend of Jan. 27 and 28 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Companies will offer insights into miniaturized optical components at work in photoacoustic imaging and multiphoton microscopy, and virtual demonstrations of a variety of laser-based techniques.

System vendors demonstrate the workings of their equipment to students and engineers during the BiOS Expo. Courtesy of SPIE.

System vendors demonstrate the workings of their equipment to students and engineers during the BiOS Expo. Courtesy of SPIE.

Those interested in emerging techniques that may not have reached the mainstream in industry or research should make it a point to attend BiOS Hot Topics on Saturday night, with rapid-fire talks on diverse subject areas such as intraoperative OCT, single-cell sequencing, and superresolution imaging aided by Raman techniques.

Sergio Fantini of Tufts University and Paola Taroni of Politecnico di Milano will chair the BiOS symposium. They pointed to the slate of plenary sessions in the program, including the Biophotonics Focus plenary, which is devoted to a different topic each year; this year, it will be hosted by Bruce Tromberg, director of the National Institutes of Health’s Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. The featured speaker will be Rox Anderson, director of the Wellman Center of Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the session will include a panel of experts discussing the clinical translation of biophotonics.

“The 2024 BiOS symposium will feature close to 50 conferences covering the full spectrum of biomedical optics techniques and applications, with new conferences on quantum effects in biology and biophotonics, computational optical imaging and artificial intelligence, and polarized light and optical angular momentum,” Fantini said.

Ammasi Periasamy of the University of Virginia and Daniel Farkas of the University of Southern California will co-chair the Biomedical Spectroscopy and Microscopy and Imaging track, with sessions focusing on single-cell characterization of drug distribution, fiber delivery of femtosecond lasers, and the use of multiphoton imaging and artificial intelligence to identify immune cell populations, and much more.

“I am impressed — in both quality and quantity — with a couple of areas of development in our field of biomedical optics, such as photothermal imaging with all its unexpected applications, down to investigating/imaging cells at the chemical bond level,” Farkas said. “I’m also interested in the proliferating uses of hyperspectral imaging and optical investigations, especially imaging, with mobile devices, such as smartphones, now getting quantitative and of course, the ubiquitous machine learning and AI approaches to better optical imaging.”

Periasamy agreed and added that he was looking forward to informative discussions on interesting work in adaptive optics to improve deep tissue imaging, AI/machine learning tools to handle large data image analysis, superresolution using Raman spectroscopy, and even insight into colonoscopy procedures using photoacoustic imaging.

“There is also a special session on vendors presentations in the multiphoton microscopy conference,” Periasamy said. “In other words, how the vendor systems (lasers, detectors, microscopes, etc.) were used for various scientific investigations in labs across the world.”

In addition to the topics listed above, Hot Topics discussions will feature themes such as high-resolution photoacoustic imaging in humans; single-cell organelle phenotyping; beyond FRET: graphene energy transfer for single-molecule biophysics and superresolution; multiplexed Brillouin microscopy; and Kernel Flow2: a next-generation time-domain functional near-infrared spectroscopy system.

The Hot Topics program, moderated by Fantini and Taroni, will also include presentations to the winners of the 2024 Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award, and the Biophotonics Technology Innovator Award.

Application tracks

In addition to Biomedical Spectroscopy, Microscopy, and Imaging, academic sessions at the BiOS conference will be divided into the following tracks:

Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics

Presenters will offer the latest in areas such as the biomodulatory effect of a wavelength-dependent laser on prostate cancer, endoscopic three-photon fluorescence imaging, and a computational framework to analyze time and location-dependent NIRS readouts for detecting cytochrome c oxidase. The co-chairs are Brian Jet-Fei Wong of Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic at the University of California, Irvine, and Eva Sevick of the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Attendees walk the floor of the BiOS exhibition hall, sampling a wide range of components, from lenses to lasers. Courtesy of SPIE.

Attendees walk the floor of the BiOS exhibition hall, sampling a wide range of components, from lenses to lasers. Courtesy of SPIE.

Neurophotonics, Neurosurgery, and Optogenetics

Sessions will include varied subjects such as an adaptive line-illumination scheme for high-speed two-photon fluorescence microscopy, deep learning-based estimation of partial pathlength and absorption changes in multilayer brain tissue for NIRS, and photoacoustic retina stimulation. Shy Shoham of New York University and Anna Devor of Boston University will co-chair.

Clinical Technologies and Systems

Speakers will delve into innovative designs related to in vivo brain tumor classification using fiber endoscopy, a wireless semi-wearable sensor for assessment of gut function, and high-resolution structuring of transparent spinel ceramics. Tuan Vo-Dinh of Duke University and Anita Mahadevan-Jansen of Vanderbilt University will co-chair.

Tissue Optics, Laser-Tissue Interaction, and Tissue Engineering

Presentations will encompass a diverse sampling of innovations, ranging from the use of gold nanoparticles as a signal enhancer for COVID-19 and the use of NIR lasers to enhance immunotherapy, to the use of optical coherence elastography to measure in vivo stiffness of tissue layers. The co-chairs are E. Duco Jansen of Vanderbilt University and Jessica Ramella-Roman of Florida International University.


Topics to be covered by a diverse group of researchers are set to include the use of a fiber-based plasmon sensor to measure vitamin C concentrations, therapeutic drug monitoring using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, and quantum imaging of molecular vibrations. Paras Prasad of the University of Buffalo and Ewa Goldys of the University of New South Wales will co-chair.

Best paper awards

As part of the Photonics West program, SPIE honors a number of established and budding researchers who have published results through innovations surrounding microscopy, portable and wearable technology, and biomaterials. The BiOS best paper awards are sponsored by Boston Scientific, Hamamatsu, MKS Spectra-Physics, Thorlabs, PicoQuant, and Ocean Insight.

Conference chairs Sergio Fantini (at podium) and Paola Taroni open the annual BiOS Hot Topics program. Courtesy of SPIE.

Conference chairs Sergio Fantini (at podium) and Paola Taroni open the annual BiOS Hot Topics program. Courtesy of SPIE.

Award categories include Advanced Photonics in Urology; the Pascal Rol Award — Ophthalmic Technologies; Optical Biopsy; Multiscale Imaging and Spectroscopy; Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems; Biophotonics in Exercise Science, Sports Medicine, Health Monitoring Technologies, and Wearables; Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing; Optical Elastography and Tissue Biomechanics; Polarized Light and Optical Angular Momentum for Biomedical Diagnostics; the JenLab Young Investigator Award — Multiphoton Microscopy in the Biomedical Sciences; the Student Poster Session Competition — Multiphoton Microscopy in the Biomedical Sciences; the PicoQuant Young Investigator Award — Single Molecule Spectroscopy and Superresolution Imaging; High-Speed Biomedical Imaging and Spectroscopy; Computational Optical Imaging and Artificial Intelligence in Biomedical Sciences; the Prizmatix Young Investigator Awards — Nanoscale Imaging, Sensing, and Actuation for Biomedical Applications; and the Ocean Insight Young Investigator Award — Colloidal Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications.

BiOS Expo

The annual exhibition at BiOS is growing ever larger, with over 160 companies represented so far, and counting. These companies work to develop and use components such as filters, fibers, and pulsed lasers to develop diagnostic tools, conduct laboratory research, or administer therapies.

Companies in this year’s show include ALPAO, ASI, Chroma Technology Corp., Coherent, DRS Daylight Solutions, Etaluma, Evident Scientific, Excelitas, HÜBNER Photonics, Ibsen Photonics, Iridian Spectral Technologies, Jenoptik, Lumencor, Oxxius, Princeton Infrared Technologies, Prospective Instruments, SCANLAB, Teledyne, and TOPTICA Photonics.

BioPhotonics magazine will also have a booth during the expo.

For more information about the show, visit

Published: November 2023
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