“Biophotonics – optical technologies for diagnostics and analytics” was the theme of the 10th Meet & Match event held in Strasbourg on 29th January 2015. The event was organised by Alsace BioValley and BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH and attracted around 50 representatives from science and industry who met to discuss diagnostic and analytic issues and how they can be solved with optical technologies.
Numerous experts from industry and academia convened at the recent Meet & Match event organised by BIOPRO and Alsace BioValley. Now in its 10th year, the event was called “Biophotonics - optical technologies for diagnostics and analytics“.
The attendees were welcomed by Mona Boyé from Alsace BioValley and Ann-Kristin Fiala from BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH who also presented their respective organisations and briefly explained the concept of transnational cooperation on which the joint Meet & Match events are based. The Meet & Match events, which were funded by the EU and Baden-Württemberg under the INTERREG programme until 2012, aim to bring together people around a specific theme, facilitate the exchange of experience and information, give new impulses and initiate cooperative projects between participants and the Alsace and Baden-Württemberg regions. In addition to Alsace BioValley and BIOPRO, the innovation cluster Photonics BW e.V. was also involved in planning and promoting the event.
The scientific programme was opened by Prof. Dr. Wilfried Uhring from the ICube Laboratory at the University of Strasbourg. He presented a high-speed camera for use in time-resolved spectroscopy, tomography and fluorescence-based measurements. The advantage of this system is that it is portable and has a relatively simple structure, it can be produced cheaply and enables the spatial visualisation of tissue structures in highly-resolved 3D images generated from 100 million images per second. The system is therefore an expansion of tomography, and enables the non-invasive localisation of tissue alterations as well as the measurement of brain activity in newborn infants and Alzheimer patients.
Following this presentation, Prof. Dr. Hans Zappe, director of the Gisela and Erwin Sick Chair of Micro-Optics at the University of Freiburg, introduced the audience to his current research projects in the field of active micro-optics: Zappe and his team use, to name just one example, thermally influenceable, flexible polymers and opto-fluidic components for developing and building innovative, tunable lenses and apertures. As a special highlight, Zappe presented an artificial micro-eye made of elastomer lenses and a fluidic micro-iris whose structure and motility is based on the human eye.
Before the lunch break, many attendees took the opportunity to present themselves, their research interests and the types of cooperation they were seeking in three-minute presentations as part of the programmed “Short presentation session”. The session was intended to facilitate and reinforce networking between participants.
After lunch, Dr. Jérémie Leonard from the University of Strasbourg presented his research approach in which he combines time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy with microfluidic methods in order to improve the investigation of the dynamic interactions of molecules. He is currently seeking partners in the field of biochemistry to help him design a suitable bioassay.
Dr. Karin Schütze, managing director of CellTool GmbH in the city of Bernried, provided interesting insights into biophotonics from a biological point of view. She presented the potential application of Raman spectroscopy for label-free and non-invasive investigation and the qualitative and quantitative differentiation of single living cells and tissues.
Dr. Joachim Koenen, one of the founders of WITec in Ulm, talked about Raman spectroscopy and its application in life sciences and biomaterials research. Koenen impressively demonstrated how pollen can be identified in a honey sample using 3D Raman imaging.
Dr. Thomas Woggon from VISOLAS GmbH specialises in the manufacture of tunable organic lasers whose wavelengths can be adjusted across the entire visible spectrum. “Although modern photometric methods are very quick, flexible and accurate, the underlying methodology has remained unchanged since 1954. The methods are still associated with the problem that incubation times of several minutes compromise the accuracy of the measurements,” says Woggon who hopes to solve this problem with a laser that will also enable small-volume measurements. Woggon is currently working on the development of a hand-held device for this purpose.
Hervé Simon from the French company Eurorad S.A. presented a novel opto-nuclear, dual laparoscopic probe for the preoperative localisation of the sentinel lymph node. This probe combines the principle of optical detection via fluorescence and radiological detection with a radioactive label. Simon is currently looking for a distribution partner to sell the device in Germany. The device has been on the market since October 2014.
The scientific programme was concluded by Prof. Jihad Zallad, also from the ICube Laboratory, who presented a method which enables the intraoperative characterisation and differentiation of diseased and healthy tissue. Zallad and his team use the different polarisation characteristics of tissues to distinguish healthy and diseased tissues from each other.
The Meet & Match event was characterised by lively question and answer sessions as well as intensive discussions during the breaks. It became clear that photonics methods can be used for a wide range of applications in the field of diagnostics and analytics.
Information about future Meet & Match and other events can be obtained from our event announcements or in our newsletter (see link in the top right-hand corner). We always welcome suggestions for new topics. If you know of an exciting life sciences topic that would be suitable for our Meet & Match events, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing us at fiala(at)bio-pro.de.