Christopher Contag to Receive SPIE Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award for Bioluminescence Imaging

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Contributions impacting nearly every aspect of in vivo studies of mammalian biology pioneered by Christopher Contag are now leading to tools that will enable early detection of cancer in humans. Contag’s work is being recognized by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, with the prestigious 2017 Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award, to be presented at SPIE Photonics West in January.

Christopher Contag is the recipient of the 2017 Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award, presented by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

Christopher Contag is the recipient of the 2017 Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award, presented by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

Dr. Contag’s passion for unraveling cancer biology and his ability to recognize unmet needs and create new tools to solve them makes him an extraordinary candidate.

Molecular imaging pioneer Christopher Contag of Stanford University has been named as recipient of the 2017 Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award, the Awards Committee for SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, has announced.

The prestigious award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding lifetime contributions to the field of biomedical optics through the development of innovative, high-impact technologies.

Contag will accept the award at SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco in January, and give a talk on his work during the BiOS Hot Topics session. A frequent contributor to the event, he has authored more than three dozen proceedings papers in the SPIE Digital Library, and nearly 20 articles in the Journal of Biomedical Optics published by SPIE.

Contag is associate chief of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine at Stanford University, director of Stanford’s Center for Innovation in In Vivo Imaging (SCI3), and co-director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS). He is also a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Radiology, and Microbiology and Immunology, and a member of Bio-X faculty for interdisciplinary sciences, and the Immunology faculty.

Contag’s lab was the first to use biological sources of light to image key biological processes in living mammals. This work included the first in vivo bioluminescent images (BLI) of bacterial infection, gene expression patterns, stem cell biology, cancer growth and transplantation biology of solid organs and responses to therapy.

His laboratory now develops macroscopic and microscopic optical imaging tools that have enabled in vivo studies of drug targets and agents such that every large drug company now uses BLI to accelerate drug development.

In its citation, the SPIE Awards Committee commended Contag for his significant changes to the way we study biology in living tissue through his invention of in vivo optical imaging using bioluminescent and fluorescent reporters. This invention is one of the most significant advances in biomedical research in recent history, the citation noted.

“Dr. Contag’s passion for unraveling cancer biology and his ability to recognize unmet needs and create new tools to solve them makes him an extraordinary candidate for the Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award,” said Anna Moore, professor of Radiology and director of the Molecular Imaging Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital, in support of Contag’s nomination.

About SPIE

SPIE 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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