New Designated Emphasis in Biophotonics

Biophotonics Cells

Biophotonics is a highly interdisciplinary field that investigates the fundamental principles of the interaction of light with biological organisms, tissues, cells, and molecules and develops new technology for basic science and clinical applications based on these principles. Biophotonics is a relatively new scientific field that has been growing dramatically over the past 20 years as a result of technological advances in optical devices, materials, synthetic chemistry, and genetics.  Active research areas include photoacoustic imaging, optical coherence tomography, molecular design of photosensitizers and probes, optogenetics, and super-resolution microscopy.  The designated emphasis in Biophotonics, housed in Biomedical Engineering, is intended to serve as a hub of biophotonics research and education on the Davis Campus and includes members across the Davis and Sacramento campuses, including the College of Engineering, School of Medicine, and College of Letters and Science.

The Designated Emphasis in Biophotonics is organized primarily to administer graduate training in conjunction with PhD granting programs including the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group, Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Program, and Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. Students may complete the DE coursework to complement to their PhD program of study in their home department, and will receive the “Designated Emphasis in Biophotonics” Certification on their Diploma.

Through completion of the DE coursework, students will:

1) Develop a solid understanding of optics, and the engineering of photonic devices and instruments that are used to generate, modify, and manipulate light.

2) Describe the fundamentals of biology and medicine, such as the molecular and cellular processes that occur in living systems, and how these contribute to the systems-level physiology.

3) Develop a fundamental understanding of pathophysiology, and common disease states including cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, and infectious disease.

4) Quantitatively describe the basics of light-tissue interaction and how they can be used to provide new optical imaging, sensing, or treatment modalities that advance basic or clinical science described above.

5) Acquire expertise for research and engineering of biophotonic technologies and methods based on one or multiple light properties (e.g. absorption, scattering, interference, polarization, fluorescence emission,Raman emission, etc).

For related activities, contact the UC Davis Optics Club and see the Biophotonics and Bioimaging Seminar Series.  For more information on the Designated Emphasis in Biophotonics, contact Dr. Laura Marcu.