6 July 2018 Special Section Guest Editorial: Special Section on Selected Topics in Biophotonics: Optogenetics and Label-Free Optical Spectroscopy
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A guest editorial to introduce the Special Section on Selected Topics in Biophotonics: Optogenetics and Label-Free Optical Spectroscopy

The present special section entitled “Optogenetics and Label-Free Optical Spectroscopy” comprises one invited review paper and several contributed papers from the summer school Biophotonics ‘17 as well as contributed papers within the general scope of the school.


Motivation and Purpose of Biophotonics Graduate Schools

Over the past decade, lasers, optical methods, and instruments based on light interaction with tissues have emerged as powerful techniques for medical diagnostics, monitoring wide spectra of tissue function, and pathology. In biophysics and biology, optical sensing and manipulation of cells have strengthened understanding of basic cell function. Together with improved laser therapeutic techniques, optical sensing and cell manipulation form the basis for the increased interest in biophotonics. Throughout Europe, the U.S., and the rest of the world, major research centers are highly active in this field that in a broad sense may be labeled biophotonics. Therefore, education within this area is increasingly important.

The main purpose with the biennial graduate summer school is to provide education within biophotonics for students and young scientists at the highest international level. Our aim is to attract internationally renowned researchers as lecturers who would attract the most talented young researchers worldwide in the field of biophotonics.


Format of the Biophotonics Graduate Summer School

The school mainly targets graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from around the world. The format of the school is a combination of lectures and student poster presentations, with time between lectures for discussions and exchange of scientific ideas. The lecturers cover one topic in a full session composed of four lectures, which thoroughly covers the basics and state of the art of each topic. On one hand, this choice limits the number of topics taught at each school. On the other hand, the topics selected for the schools are covered in detail. Therefore, the range of topics taught will change from school to school.

An important feature of the school format is that students and lecturers spend the entire week together, which provides excellent opportunities for the exchange of scientific ideas, networking, and socializing.

The 8th International Graduate Summer School Biophotonics ‘171 covered the basics of lasers as well as supercontinuum sources and their application in medicine, tissue optics, photodynamic therapy, optical tweezers and their applications in biophotonics, opto-genetics, diffuse optical and molecular imaging, optical coherence tomography, photo-acoustic tomography, Raman spectroscopy and sensing (covered in the invited tutorial) and coherent Raman scattering microscopy. In addition, at the kick-off of the school, current trends in pathology were covered in one keynote lecture, and the topics of entrepreneurship and translating ideas into applications eventually becoming products were covered in a second keynote lecture. A third keynote on spectroscopy in life science was delivered by Prof. Sune Svanberg at the end of the school.


Special Section in the Journal of Biomedical Optics

We are pleased to introduce the contributions to this special section on “Optogenetics and Label-Free Optical Spectroscopy” comprising one invited tutorial paper and eight contributed papers, mainly from the participants of the school but also from other researchers in the field. Not all of the contributions are strictly covered by the title of the special section, but all contributions reflect the core topics of the school and span the fields of biomedical optics and biophotonics. The invited tutorial paper is:

This paper from a lecturer at the school is tutorial in character and provides an excellent background to the field of in-vivo Raman spectroscopy while also pointing to applications and future challenges. This invited tutorial provides a natural continuation to previous tutorial papers on the foundation of diffuse optics,2 imaging thick tissues with diffuse optics,3 molecular imaging,4 optical micromanipulation,5 photodynamic therapy,6 optical coherence tomography,7 biological imaging with coherent Raman scattering microscopy,8 photoacoustic tomography,9 and fiber-based sources for biophotonics10 published in similar special sections from previous schools. These papers all belong to a planned series of tutorial review papers from each biennial school that provide high-level, open-access educational material for the benefit of the scientific community and, in addition, fulfill our own motivation for creating the school in the first place. With this special section, there are in total ten excellent tutorials that provide profound introduction into the basics of our field.

In addition to the invited tutorial paper, we have eight contributed papers. , Marois et al. https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.23.7.071202 discusses optimum wavelength selection for diffuse spectroscopy, based on simulated light-tissue interactions, i.e., linking to the core topic of tissue optics.2,3 Optical coherence tomography7 is continuing to expand into new applications: here polarization-sensitive OCT is covered by , Golde et al. https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.23.7.071203 for potential in dental applications, i.e., caries. , Awasthi et al. https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.23.7.071204 addresses image processing of ill-posed data sets, particularly for photoacoustic tomography.9 Continuing on image analysis, , Lenz et al. https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.23.7.071205 describe a method based on feature extraction from OCT images of ex vivo brain tissue, which may provide a future useful tool during surgical procedure. , Abbasi et al. https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.23.7.071206 reports laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy as a potential tool for autocarbonization detection in laserosteotomy. Endoscopic OCT is applied for in vivo imaging of the oral cavity for studying soft/hard tissues, described by , Walther et al. https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.23.7.071207 Using Monte Carlo modeling , Durkee et al. https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.23.7.071208 optimize illumination of mouse lung in order to detect low level fluorescence pulmonary pathogens, demonstrating vast performance improvement as a result, and linking to light-tissue interactions.2,3 Finally, and Gunther et al. https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.23.7.071209 demonstrate theoretically improved deep tissue imaging by combining photoacoustic tomography and slow light spectral filtering, e.g., more than 10 cm imaging depth in transmission mode.


The editors would first like to thank all the lecturers and participants of the summer school Biophotonics ‘17 for making the school a very fruitful and positive experience, the authors of all papers in this special section for their excellent contributions, and the many reviewers around the world who provided high-quality reviews of the manuscripts. Your dedicated efforts have made this high-quality special section possible. The editors would also like to thank the JBO publication staff, Rita Davis and Karolyn Labes in particular, for their invaluable support and prompt assistance in helping meet the JBO standards. Finally, the editors would like to thank Prof. Lihong Wang, editor-in-chief, for his never-ending support and stimulating encouragements during the entire process of making this special section.


1. Biophotonics ‘17 Website, 2017  www.biop.dk/Google Scholar

2. S. L. Jacques and B. W. Pogue, “Tutorial on diffuse light transport,” J. Biomed. Opt. 13, 041302 (2008).JBOPFO1083-3668 https://doi.org/10.1117/1.2967535 Google Scholar

3. T. D. O'sullivan, A. E. Cerussi, D. J. Cuccia and B. J. Tromberg, “Diffuse optical imaging using spatially and temporally modulated light,” J. Biomed. Opt. 17, 071311 (2012).JBOPFO1083-3668 Google Scholar

4. E. M. Sevick-Muraca and J. C. Rasmussen, “Molecular imaging with optics: primer and case for near-infrared fluorescence techniques in personalized medicine,” J. Biomed. Opt. 13, 041303 (2008).JBOPFO1083-3668 https://doi.org/10.1117/1.2953185 Google Scholar

5. D. J. Stevenson, F. Gunn-Moore and K. Dholakia, “Light forces the pace: optical manipulation for biophotonics,” J. Biomed. Opt. 15, 041503 (2010).JBOPFO1083-3668 https://doi.org/10.1117/1.3475958 Google Scholar

6. K. Svanberg, N. Bendsoe, J. Axelsson, S. Andersson-Engels and S. Svanberg, J. Biomed. Opt. 15, 041502 (2010).JBOPFO1083-3668 https://doi.org/10.1117/1.3466579 Google Scholar

7. W. Drexler, M. Liu, A. Kumar, T. Kamali, A. Unterhuber and R. A. Leitgeb, “Optical coherence tomography today: speed, contrast, and multimodality,” J. Biomed. Opt. 19, 071412 (2014).JBOPFO1083-3668 https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.19.7.071412 Google Scholar

8. A. Alfonso-García, R. Mittal, E. S. Lee and E. O. Potma, “Biological imaging with coherent Raman scattering microscopy: a tutorial,” J. Biomed. Opt. 19, 071407 (2014).JBOPFO1083-3668 https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.19.7.071407 Google Scholar

9. L. Lin, J. Yao, L. Li and L. V. Wang, “In vivo photoacoustic tomography of myoglobin oxygen saturation,” J. Biomed. Opt. 21, 061002 (2016).JBOPFO1083-3668 https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.21.6.061002 Google Scholar

10. J. R. Taylor, “Tutorial on fiber-based sources for biophotonic applications,” J. Biomed. Opt. 21, 061010 (2016).JBOPFO1083-3668 https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.21.6.061010 Google Scholar


Stefan Andersson-Engels is a professor and has been head of biophotonics at Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, since 2016. He has more than 20 years of research experience in developing optical techniques to assist in diagnostic and therapeutic applications within medicine. Since 2003, he has co-organized the biannual International Graduate Summer School Biophotonics, held at the Isle of Hven, Sweden. He is an editorial board member of the Journal of Biomedical Optics and Journal of Biophotonics.

Peter E. Andersen is senior scientist at the Technical University of Denmark, where he leads the research within biomedical optics. He has more than 15 years of research experience with light sources for biomedical optics, optical coherence tomography systems and their application, and nonlinear microscopy. Since 2003, he has co-organized the biannual International Graduate Summer School Biophotonics, held at the Isle of Hven, Sweden. He is appointed editorial board member of Journal of Biomedical Optics, and editorial board member of Journal of Biophotonics.

© 2018 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Stefan Andersson-Engels, Stefan Andersson-Engels, Peter E. Andersen, Peter E. Andersen, "Special Section Guest Editorial: Special Section on Selected Topics in Biophotonics: Optogenetics and Label-Free Optical Spectroscopy," Journal of Biomedical Optics 23(7), 071201 (6 July 2018). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.JBO.23.7.071201 . Submission:

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