Canada Research Chair in Biophotonics
Tier 2 - 2005-11-01
RESEARCH INVOLVESDeveloping optics-based diagnostic and therapeutic technology for medicine and the life sciences.
RESEARCH RELEVANCEThe research has broad applicability to early detection and diagnosis of malignant conditions, image-guided interventions, and monitoring responses to therapy.
BIOPHOTONICS: USING RADIANT ENERGY FOR DIAGNOSIS AND THERAPYBiophotonics is a technology that deals with the interaction of organic materials with light and other forms of radiant energy. It includes the emission, detection, absorption, deflection, selection, modification, and creation of radiation, by and from all living organisms and organic materials. It has applications in many scientific fields including biology and medicine, the fields of interest of Dr. Qiyin Fang, who works on photonics-based technologies for biomedical applications.
Optical techniques have revolutionized medicine with their potential to be used in all kinds of minimally invasive procedures. Lasers, for instance, allow surgeons more control and precision, and optical spectroscopy and imaging techniques provide diagnosticians with invaluable information that can be used to discriminate between malignant and healthy tissue.
As a Canada Research Chair in Biophotonics, Fang develops techniques to use in diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases, including arteriosclerosis and brain cancer. For minimally invasive clinical diagnostic techniques, he uses florescence spectroscopy; for clinical therapy, he uses pulsed laser ablation.
In the past, Fang and his colleagues developed a compact, mobile, clinical-compatible instrument capable of rapid acquisition of time-domain fluorescence spectra. Using this instrument, they studied various types of normal and malignant tissue in-vivo using both animal models and human subjects. In one of the applications, diagnostic signatures were discovered to identify brain tumour margin in real-time during resection surgery. In time, this instrument may be used to improve the prognosis of glioblastoma, a type of particular invasive brain tumour.
As a Canada Research Chair Fang is continuing to expand his work in this field, developing instruments that can be used in clinical settings. He is also looking into imaging techniques that may be used in endoscopic applications to "see" the interior of hollow organs such as the colon, bladder, and stomach. He hopes to eventually establish a biophotonics technology centre, where both optical engineering and biomedical sciences can thrive together.