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Katarina Svanberg wins SPIE Gold Medal

03 Jan 2017

Past president wins the society’s most prestigious award for biophotonics work including cancer diagnostics.

SPIE has awarded Katarina Svanberg, the biophotonics expert and consultant oncologist at Lund University Hospital in Sweden, its top accolade.

The 2017 Gold Medal of the Society recognizes her work in clinical biophotonics, photodynamic therapy and cancer diagnosis with optical techniques.

Svanberg, who served as SPIE’s president in 2011 and is married to much-lauded spectroscopy researcher Sune, has in particular been instrumental in developing “optical biopsy” technologies based on laser-induced fluorescence.

Diagnosis and therapy
SPIE’s current president Robert Lieberman described Katarina Svanberg’s approach to medical technology development as a “beacon” to others, adding:

“Her deep commitment to the practical application of optics and photonics for the diagnosis and treatment of disease has helped save and improve the lives of hundreds of individuals. Furthermore, her activities in the developing world have changed countless other lives by bringing hope.”

The Svanbergs are a long-standing and well-known fixture at optics and photonics events, with Katarina instrumental in founding the highly regarded Ven Summer School and also helping set up medical laser technology centers in Africa and training personnel in some of the poorest regions of the continent.

Their expertise has now extended to another generation, with daughter and medical post-doctoral fellow Emilie Krite Svanberg closely involved in a recent project using diode laser spectroscopy to diagnose pulmonary disorders in newborn babies.

SPIE’s 2017 president-elect Maryellen Giger said: “Dr. Svanberg has tirelessly worked to transfer her knowledge and the application of biomedical optic techniques to developing areas. The transfer of knowledge has occurred through academic and university functions as well as through various optical companies.”

Full list of awards
The Gold Medal of the Society is the highest honor that SPIE, which publishes optics.org, awards. Since 1977 it has been awarded annually in recognition of outstanding engineering or scientific accomplishments in optics, electro-optics, or photographic technologies or applications, to recipients who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of relevant technology.

As well as the Gold Medal, SPIE announced the recipients of 11 other awards. These are the winners:

• Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award: Christopher Contag, Michigan State University and Stanford University; contributions to the invention of in vivo optical imaging using bioluminescent reporters
• Harold E. Edgerton Award: Mikhail Schelev, Russian Academy of Sciences; high-speed photoelectronic image recording*
• Dennis Gabor Award: Toyohiko Yatagai, Utsunomiya University; development of computer-generated holography
• George W. Goddard Award: New Horizons Optical Instrumentation Team, led by Southwest Research Institute; efforts in developing the innovative instruments that returned first-ever images and data of Pluto and its moons
• G.G. Stokes Award: Christian Brosseau, Université de Bretagne Occidentale; contributions to the theory of polarization of light, in particular work on statistical optics
• Chandra S. Vikram Award in Optical Metrology: Mitsuo Takeda, Utsunomiya University; invention of the Fourier transform method of interferogram fringe analysis and coherence holography
• Frits Zernike Award for Microlithography: Donis Flagello, Nikon Research Corporation of America; understanding and improvement of image formation in optical lithography for semiconductor manufacturing
• Early Career Achievement Award – Academic: Maiken Mikkelsen, Duke University; seminal contributions to the understanding of light-matter interactions and ultrafast emission dynamics in plasmonic systems
• Early Career Achievement Award – Industry: Utkarsh Sharma, Optovue; development of first FDA-cleared optical coherence tomography (OCT) angiography and other advanced OCT technologies
• SPIE Educator Award: John Greivenkamp, University of Arizona; dedication to both formal and informal optics education
• SPIE Technology Achievement Award: Edward Delp III, Purdue University; pioneering work in multimedia security including watermarking and device forensics, and for his contributions to image and video compression.

* awarded posthumously

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