What is biomedical optics?

Broadly, biomedical optics is the development and application of optical techniques to diagnose and treat disease as well as to obtain new biological information. The research projects in this summer program emphasize engineering innovations and technology development rather than use of existing optical techniques.

What will a typical week in the program be like?

Two mornings a week will be devoted to biomedical optics lectures. Afternoons following class and on days when no class is scheduled, students are expected to be in their assigned research lab. 

What are some examples of the topics in the tutorial lectures?

Past lecture topics have included: basic optics, multiphoton microscopy, optofluidics, optogenetics, optical coherence tomography, optical rheology, pathology, imaging therapeutic responses, laser surgery and therapy, and photobiomodulation.

Where will the research projects take place?

Research activities take place at laboratories on the campuses of MIT and the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

How will I be matched with a specific research project?

In one of the sections of the application, you are asked to rank order your preference for one of the project areas. Mentors review the applications to match your skills and interests with specific research projects. Your preferences will be given strong consideration; however, there is no guarantee you will be matched to your first choice project.

Will I have to submit a project report?

No final report is required.

I am starting medical school and need to arrive there before the Summer Institute ends. Can I attend only part of the Institute?

No. The student presentations given during the final week of the summer are an important and integral part of the Institute. All participants are expected to be in residence for the full duration of the program (June - August).

What have students done in the past?

Here are the titles of a few student projects:

  • Portable Handheld Laser Power Monitor for DOT Imager Calibration
  • 3D Printing of elastomeric strain relief for the optimization of clinical tethered capsule endomicroscopy device
  • Correlation of FMT with histology of excised tissues
  • Time resolved photon propagation in tissues
  • Quantum-dot cell labeling for in-vivo flow cytometry
  • Improving the accuracy of core needle biopsy using photoacoustic imaging
  • Characterization of the Optical Properties of Middle-Ear Effusions
  • Detecting bacteria and neutrophils in microscopic skin tissue columns (MSTCs) using fluorescence and chemiluminescence
  • Optical Mammography and Real-Time Breast Spectroscopy