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Biomedical projects lead Edmund award winners

14 Sep 2012

Optical biopsy, brain cancer diagnosis and low-cost disease detection head list of 2012 research and innovation winners.

Edmund Optics has selected the winners of its annual research and innovation competition, with biomedical projects including cancer diagnostics and new forms of optical biopsies featuring prominently this year.

The global optics firm, founded 70 years ago as a one-man operation by Norman Edmund, will hand out more than $80,000 worth of products as prizes to this year’s winners, which were selected according to their technical merit and innovative use of optics.

After whittling down 750 applications to 45 finalists, the Edmund judges selected nine university-based winners across Asia, Europe and the Americas.

In Europe, first place and €7000 in Edmund products will go to David Margolis, based at the Brain Research Institute at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Margolis is working on new biological imaging techniques to deliver cellular-level resolution in living animals. By integrating wide-field imaging with two-photon microscopy, the researcher is aiming to develop new ways to diagnose brain cancer.

In the Americas region, postdoctoral fellow Tomasz Tkaczyk from Rice University’s Department of Bioengineering wins $10,000 in products to help develop another imaging technique aimed at in vivo detection of diseases. Advanced miniature microscope objectives and endomicroscopy systems will be designed to offer low-cost and portable screening for signs of cancer and infectious diseases.

Quan Liu, from the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, wins first prize for the Asia region. The assistant professor is working on the development of optical biopsies – with the aim of replacing invasive physical biopsies in the future.

Liu also wins $10,000 in Edmund products for a project based on a combination of optical imaging and spectroscopy techniques that is aimed to bring diagnostics currently requiring laboratory bench analysis to the patient’s bedside.

Edmund has a manufacturing base in Singapore that specializes in prism production, and is currently expanding operations at the site in response to growing demand. In June, the company also said that it would transition aspheric production to Singapore from its site in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania.

Commenting on this year’s raft of entries, Edmund’s Kirsten Bjork-Jones said: “We would like to offer our heartiest congratulations to all the 2012 award finalists. We are truly impressed with the diversity and inventiveness of all the applicant programs submitted.”

Runners-up for the three regions were Kirstin Baum from the University of Marburg in Germany, Hayashi Jun from Osaka University in Japan, and Ann Elsner from Indiana University. They are respectively working on diffuse optical tomography, gas-phase chemistry diagnostics and retinal imaging.

In third place for the three geographic regions were Saiedeh Saghafi from Vienna University of Technology, Yin Chang at the National Yang-Ming University in Taiwan, and Gregory Lyzenga at Harvey Mudd College in California.

For further details of this year’s winners and finalists, visit the company's dedicated web page.

Edmund will make another award next month, this time in honor of Norman Edmund, who died in January this year. The Norman Edmund Inspiration Award, worth $5000 in Edmund products, will be awarded to a program that “best embodies the legacy” of the company’s founder.

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