Nanomedicine pioneer Paras Prasad to receive SPIE Gold Medal during SPIE Optics + Photonics

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University at Buffalo researcher Paras Prasad will receive the SPIE 2016 Gold Medal of the Society during SPIE Optics + Photonics in San Diego, California, next week, honoring his pioneering contributions to nano- and biophotonics and their important medical applications. Prasad’s lab has developed nanoparticle technology capable of conducting cellular, tissue-level, and whole-body imaging, and delivering drugs inside the body.

SPIE 2016 Gold Medal of the Society recipient Paras Prasad of the University at Buffalo is being honored for his work in nanomedicine. (Credit: University at Buffalo)

SPIE 2016 Gold Medal of the Society recipient Paras Prasad of the University at Buffalo is being honored for his work in nanomedicine. (Credit: University at Buffalo)

These seminal contributions have life-changing implications, from cancer treatment and drug delivery to imaging and information storage.

The SPIE 2016 Gold Medal of the Society — the highest honor awarded by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics — will be presented next week to nanomedicine pioneer Paras Prasad at a gala awards banquet during SPIE Optics + Photonics in San Diego, California.

Prasad is a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Physics, Medicine and Electrical Engineering and the Samuel P. Capen Chair as well as Executive Director of the Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics (ILPB) at the University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York. He was an early pioneer in light-based nanomedicine, which involves using tiny light-activated particles for diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of disease.

The award recognizes his lab’s development of Nanoclinic, a silica nanoshell containing various diagnostic and therapeutic agents, and his numerous other pioneering contributions to nonlinear optics, nanophotonics, and biophotonics and their application to nanomedicine, along with his three-plus decades of outstanding service to SPIE.

The award will be presented along with others at an annual awards banquet on 31 August. Recipients of the 2016 SPIE President’s and Directors’ awards will be announced during the banquet by SPIE 2016 President Robert Lieberman (Lumoptix LLC).

Prasad will give a symposium-wide plenary presentation Sunday evening (28 August) at SPIE Optics + Photonics on his latest research, into photon management through in situ photon conversion with optical nanotransformers. Prasad and his team have created nanotransformers for functional imaging of brains and for optogenetic stimulation of brain activity — an extension of the Nanoclinic technology.

Nanoclinic is a multilevel nanoparticle containing imaging and sensing probes capable of conducting cellular, tissue-level, and whole-body imaging. It can also house a therapeutic payload, enabling doctors to release drugs inside a patient’s body and monitor the effectiveness of the treatment in real-time.

“Professor Prasad’s discoveries in nanomedicine have great potential and could lead to breakthroughs in detecting, diagnosing, and treating various forms of cancer,” said Venu Govindaraju, vice president for research and economic development at UB. “His work also demonstrates how university researchers can drive innovation and economic development.”

In shaping the fields of nanophotonics, nanomedicine, and biophotonics, Prasad has helped open up a critical new frontier in science and technology. “These seminal contributions have life-changing implications, from cancer treatment and drug delivery to imaging and information storage,” said UB President Satish Tripathi.

“The SPIE Gold Medal is a prestigious international honor and a much-deserved recognition for Dr. Prasad, who has made profound contributions to the fields of optics and photonics over many years,” Tripathi said.

Prasad, a member of the society for more than 30 years, has developed and taught courses for SPIE in nonlinear optics, nanophotonics, biophotonics, and nanomedicine, chaired the Nano/Biophotonics track at BiOS at SPIE Photonics West, and presented and published numerous papers in SPIE journals and conference proceedings. (Read more about Prasad and his work in the SPIE Professional feature.)

More information on Gold Medal and other award winners is at http://www.spie.org/x45.xml.

Award nominations may be made through 1 October of any given year and are considered active for three years from the submission date. Information and nomination forms are at http://www.spie.org/x1164.xml.

About SPIESPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2015, SPIE provided more than $5.2 million in support of education and outreach programs. http://www.spie.org

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