The objectives of the Section on Analytical and Functional Biophotonics (SAFB), previously Section on Biomedical Stochastic Physics, are to devise quantitative biophotonics methodologies and associated instrumentations to study biological phenomena at different length scales, from nanoscopy to microscopy, and diffuse biophotonics. We take advantage of our expertise in stochastic modeling, to study complex biological phenomena whose properties are characterized by elements of randomness in both time and space such as light/tissue interactions.
We are expert on different properties of light/matter interactions as sources of optical contrasts, such as polarization properties, endogenous or exogenous fluorescent labels, absorption (e.g., hemoglobin or chromophore concentration), and/or scattering. These contrast mechanisms have been used for tomographic and spectroscopic methods to bring benchtop instrumentation for pre-clinical and clinical uses. We are identifying physiological sites where optical techniques might be clinically practical and offer new diagnostic knowledge and/or less morbidity than existing diagnostic methods.
Another research category that we are pursuing, is using our expertise in numerical simulations, to design new imaging methods beyond the diffraction barrier at nanoscopic level, or assess the performance (blurring and resolution) of multi-photon excitation and Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS) as a function of the optical properties of the tissue specimen and its depth under investigation.
All these projects are by nature multi-disciplinary which involve also biologists, physicians, and chemists. Therefore, we conduct collaborative research both nationally, internationally and within the Intramural Research Program (IRP) of the NIH. The projects of the Section are all in different stages of development, but each have made significant progress toward the goals and have additional goals for the future. The projects have been divided into two categories: Tissue Biophotonics and Virtual Microscopy and Nanoscopy; we are using also our expertise in stochastic modeling to quantify parameters associated with tumor-induced angiogenesis which plays an important role in the establishment of tumor malignancy.