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Latest Issue
Mar/Apr 2020

A million volunteers in view

Bioengineering now makes up about 13% of the overall budget of the National Institutes of Health, and this number is only projected to grow. During a keynote address at BiOS 2020 in February in San Francisco, Bruce Tromberg traced this expansion to the rapid development of technologies in microscopy and spectroscopy and the converging trends of private innovation and public participation. Tromberg, the director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), made an appeal to the health care community that this private-public partnership needs to not only continue, but to grow stronger.

Tromberg recently testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies that research and discovery had borne fruit in the creation of a miniaturized device for food analysis at the dinner table, as well as the combination of imaging and ultrasound methods to noninvasively identify breast cancer.

To make sure these trends capture data from and benefit the most people, NIBIB — in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — has made grant opportunities available for the prototyping of wearable sensors, mobile therapy, and point-of-care diagnostic tools. And through the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program, now known as the All of Us Research Program, the NIH is seeking one million volunteers to build a database of health care data that may one day provide virtual clinical trials for new medical treatment.

New and exciting approaches are already at our doorstep. In my cover story on optogenetics, I describe the use of the transmembrane rhodopsins that are common in many forms of life. When introduced through a stereotaxic procedure and excited by light, these proteins can enable the control of specific processes in the brain. Read more.

On the topic of the analysis of new pharmaceuticals, author Thomas Juliano writes that terahertz time-domain spectroscopy has been applied to both flat-faced and biconvex tablets to demonstrate porosity. This quality is instrumental to the dispersion of ingredients in essential medications, as Juliano explains here. Amira Tandirovic Gursel writes about how fiber lasers for MIR and NIR spectroscopy have been widely implemented in nondestructive analysis of bulk materials and are being envisioned for noninvasive monitoring of physiological parameters, including glucose.

According to author Gabe Siegel, artificial intelligence algorithms, when used in whole-slide imaging, can stitch together both images and notations for display right in front of the pathologist. This will enable a clinician to use not only information regarding a patient’s current health but also data sets from other experts when making a decision, as Siegel explains here.

Finally, in this edition’s “Biopinion,” authors Veronika Marek and Michael Haddad share that instruments and processes in biophotonics have produced a broad range of benefits for cosmetic laboratories, in both fundamental research and in the evaluation of products and ingredients. Find out how technology is changing the way we look and feel.

Enjoy the issue!
Mike Wheeler
As editor-in-chief, Michael Wheeler oversees Photonics Media's editorial operations — spanning print, web, and podcasts. He also serves as editor of Vision Spectra, chronicling advancements in the rapidly expanding machine vision/inspection sector.
Susan Petrie
Susan Petrie is Senior Editor of Photonics Spectra and has two decades of experience with print and digital publications. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Bennington College.
Doug Farmer
Senior Editor Douglas Farmer has been a journalist for nearly 20 years, winning awards for health and education reporting. He has a master's degree in journalism from Ball State University. He is editor of EuroPhotonics and BioPhotonics magazines.
Robin Riley
Multimedia/Web Editor Robin Riley has 30+ years of experience in communications and marketing for a range of technical industries. She is a regular contributor to web content and social media, and organizes and produces custom and editorial webinars.
Valerie Coffey
Science writer Valerie C. Coffey holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s in astronomy. She has covered optics, photonics, physics, and astronomy for a variety of industry and academic publications since 2000.
Hank Hogan
Contributing Editor Hank Hogan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He worked in the semiconductor industry and now writes about science and technology.
Marie Freebody
Contributing Editor Marie Freebody is a freelance science and technology journalist with a master’s degree in physics and a concentration in nuclear astrophysics from the University of Surrey in England.
Farooq Ahmed
Farooq Ahmed has covered the physical and biological sciences for over a decade. He has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Brown University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Columbia University.
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