SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, has elected Professor Irving Bigio (ECE, BME) to the rank of Fellow for his work in biological and biomedical applications of lasers and optical technologies. SPIE Fellows are distinguished members who have made significant scientific, technical and community contributions in the multidisciplinary fields of optics, photonics and imaging.
“Being elected a Fellow is an honor,” said Bigio. “It speaks well of the College of Engineering that a good number of our faculty members are Senior Members or Fellows of their respective professional societies.”
Bigio’s work in biomedical optics is part of a growing effort to reduce health care costs through preventive medicine, early diagnosis and reduced invasiveness of inpatient and outpatient procedures. His seminal achievements include key advances in optical interactions with biopolymers and tissues, clinical applications of optical technologies and lasers, and biomedical applications of spectroscopy.
Perhaps most notably, he determined that ultrastructural changes in subcellular architecture could be sensed by a noninvasive optical method—elastic scattering spectroscopy, and that this method could be used to detect preliminary signs of cancer by measurements using optical fibers through endoscopes, catheters and needles.
Bigio is currently using optical methods to study cellular dynamics, including the very early phases of apoptosis in cells and noninvasive imaging of nerve impulse propagation in nerve fibers and brain tissue. He recently led a multi-national, multi-year program under the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute Network for Translational Research in Optical Imaging that has led to improved methods of screening for colon cancer and new methods for drug delivery to patients with brain tumors.
Bigio has authored a number of patents and received three R&D 100 Awards for instruments utilizing optical technologies for detecting disease in tissue and sensing properties of biological media. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, the American Society for Lasers in Medicine and Surgery, and the American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering.