(Boston, MA) — The Boston University Photonics Center and the Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology (CBST) at UC Davis have jointly received the newest National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center award.  The new Center for Biophotonic Sensors and Systems (CBSS) is one of 50 such cooperative research center awards across the country and the only center focused on biophotonic sensors.  The concept is a long-running NSF program designed to foster university-industry collaborations and is jointly supported by the foundation and industry.

Working at the intersection of photonics engineering and the life sciences, research at the new center will focus on improving tools and techniques for disease diagnosis, drug-efficacy testing, patient monitoring and food and water safety.

“We are pleased to have the confidence of NSF and the support of industry members as we launch this center,” said Thomas Bifano of Boston University and the first director for the biophotonic sensor center. “The ultimate goal of the center is to use photonics as a driver for early disease detection, reduction of health care costs, speedier and more effective treatment through personalized care and better patient outcomes”.

Dennis Matthews, director of the biophotonics center on the UC Davis Health System campus and UC Davis site director for the new center, added that it will be a national resource for biosensor research that draws from two top regions of technological and entrepreneurial innovation in the country.

“We are teaming two nationally renowned photonics research centers with a history of close collaboration with their respective medical campuses and clinical health-care experts — elements that augur well for success,” Matthews said.

Gabriela Lee, CBST’s industry liaison, said the center’s framework provides plenty of potential for faculty and industry partners to work together on basic research that ultimately will benefit all.  The center also will provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to work toward careers as engineers and scientists.

Specifically, she said, the two biophotonics programs plan to focus their research on biospectroscopy using advanced optical components, single-cell capture flow cytometry, adaptive beam control for deep tissue 2-photon imaging and live cell 3-D super resolution microscopy.

Industry members will direct the center research. The initial research programs will be determined at a meeting April 28 and 29 at Boston University.  Benefits to industry members include opportunities for pre-competitive collaboration with industry counterparts, access to a pipeline of trained graduate students, enhanced technology transfer opportunities, rights to license intellectual property related to the program, access to the breadth of each university’s research as well as access to supplemental funding opportunities through other NSF programs.

The April meeting is open to all potential industry members; voting rights will be limited to those who have signed the membership agreement.  Registration fees are waived for this meeting. For more information and to register, visit: www.bu.edu/cbss.

About Boston University
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes that are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.

About University of California at Davis

For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that benefit California and transform the world. Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has more than 32,000 students, more than 2,500 faculty and more than 21,000 staff, an annual research budget that exceeds $678 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers.

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