Henry Hirschberg Among the 2023 UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge Pilot Project Awardees

The UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge is proud to announce the funding of a diverse range of innovative cancer research projects at the UCI Health Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and its pediatric cancer affiliate, Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).

Through the unwavering support of dedicated participants, donors and supporters who collectively raised more than $1 million in 2023, the UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge has awarded grants to 23 pilot projects and early phase clinical trials, reaching a remarkable milestone of 123 funded projects since 2017. These projects are poised to revolutionize the future of cancer diagnosis, treatment and cures.

By registering for the 2024 UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge, you can help fund the next round of innovative cancer research projects.


Enhancing the Efficacy of Radiation Therapy by Surgically Targeted Radiation-Sensitizer Loaded Hydrogels: Translation of in Vitro Results to a Post-Resection Rat Brain Tumor Model
Henry Hirschberg, PhD, The Beckman Laser Institute, UC Irvine School of Medicine
This research project has as its aim to enhance the therapeutic effects of image guided radiation therapy in the treatment of primary brain cancer. A slow-release delivery system for compounds termed radiation sensitizers, known to enhance the effects of radiation therapy, will be implanted in the cavity formed after surgical removal of a major portion of the tumor. Enhancing the site-specific ability of radiation to selectively kill tumor cells, while spearing normal tissue, would result in a higher chance of cure and reduce unwanted treatment side effects. The development of the proposed therapeutic modality would potentially not only improve the prognosis of patients suffering from primary and metastatic brain tumors but would also be applicable to other forms of operable cancer, such as breast and lung.

Read more about the 2023 Awardees on the UCI Anti-Challenge website.

Maxim Shcherbakov Receives NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award

Dr. Maxim Shcherbakov, Assistant Professor, UCI Samueli School of Engineering,  recently received the prestigious National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. His project, “Bridging Infrared and Visible Photonics with Chip-ready Nonlinear and Quantum Metadevices,” addresses the problem of efficient frequency conversion on a chip.  The project explores the nonlinear and quantum properties of phonon-polaritonic materials, offering a framework for on-chip light management with unprecedented bandwidth, footprint and efficiency.

The research will connect signals across five octaves of light through nonlinear and quantum light-matter interactions in designer nanostructures called photonic-phononic metasurfaces. Photonic-phononic metasurfaces will be conceived using modern tools of nanotechnology, as well as rigorous numerical design approaches and state-of-the-art optical testing tools, including femtosecond lasers and single-photon correlation techniques.

The results of Dr. Shcherbakov’s research will pave the way to better, more efficient signaling on a chip, which will allow seamless integration of heterogeneous photonic platforms and chiplets. The broader societal impact extends to advancements in on-chip photonics, impacting computing, signal processing, telecommunication, quantum information, and biophotonics.

An essential component of the project is an integrated educational effort to train a diverse group of future semiconductor microelectronics and quantum information specialists. Through clean room training, hands-on experience with quantum communication protocols and public talks, the team will play an important role in shaping the landscape of high-tech research and education of tomorrow.

About the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from early-career faculty at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply.

About the U.S. National Science Foundation

The U.S. National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science; advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and secure national defense. NSF is the only federal agency whose mission supports all fields of fundamental science and engineering disciplines, from mathematics, engineering and geosciences to biological, behavioral and computer sciences.

Click here to learn more on the NFS website.


Photon momentum discovery unlocks novel, silicon-based optoelectronic capabilities

Monday, May 06, 2024 | Brian Bell | UCI News
Photo Credit: Lucas Van Wyk Joel | UC Irvine

Irvine, Calif., May 6, 2024  A research team headed by chemists at the University of California, Irvine has discovered a previously unknown way in which light interacts with matter, a finding that could lead to improved solar power systems, light-emitting diodes, semiconductor lasers and other technological advancements.

In a paper published recently in the journal ACS Nano, the scientists, joined by colleagues at Russia’s Kazan Federal University, explain how they learned that photons can obtain substantial momentum, similar to that of electrons in solid materials, when confined to nanometer-scale spaces in silicon.

“Silicon is Earth’s second-most abundant element, and it forms the backbone of modern electronics. However, being an indirect semiconductor, its utilization in optoelectronics has been hindered by poor optical properties,” said lead author Dmitry Fishman, UC Irvine adjunct professor of chemistry.

He said that while silicon does not naturally emit light in its bulk form, porous and nanostructured silicon can produce detectable light after being exposed to visible radiation. Scientists have been aware of this phenomenon for decades, but the precise origins of the illumination have been the subject of debate.

“In 1923, Arthur Compton discovered that gamma photons possessed sufficient momentum to strongly interact with free or bound electrons. This helped prove that light had both wave and particle properties, a finding that led to Compton receiving the Nobel Prize in physics in 1927,” Fishman said. “In our experiments, we showed that the momentum of visible light confined to nanoscale silicon crystals produces a similar optical interaction in semiconductors.”

An understanding of the origin of the interaction requires another trip back to the early 20th century. In 1928, Indian physicist C.V. Raman, who won the 1930 Nobel Prize in physics, attempted to repeat the Compton experiment with visible light. However, he encountered a formidable obstacle in the substantial disparity between the momentum of electrons and that of visible photons. Despite this setback, Raman’s investigations into inelastic scattering in liquids and gases led to the revelation of what is now recognized as the vibrational Raman effect, and spectroscopy – a crucial method of spectroscopic studies of matter – has come to be known as Raman scattering.

“Our discovery of photon momentum in disordered silicon is due to a form of electronic Raman scattering,” said co-author Eric Potma, UC Irvine professor of chemistry. “But unlike conventional vibrational Raman, electronic Raman involves different initial and final states for the electron, a phenomenon previously only observed in metals.”

For their experiments, the researchers produced in their laboratory silicon glass samples that ranged in clarity from amorphous to crystal. They subjected a 300-nanometer-thick silicon film to a tightly focused continuous-wave laser beam that was scanned to write an array of straight lines. In areas where the temperature did not exceed 500 degrees Celsius, the procedure resulted in the formation of a homogenous cross-linked glass. In areas where the temperature exceeded 500 C, a heterogeneous semiconductor glass was formed. This “light-foamed film” allowed the researchers to observe how electronic, optical and thermal properties varied on the nanometer scale.

“This work challenges our understanding of light and matter interaction, underscoring the critical role of photon momenta,” Fishman said. “In disordered systems, electron-photon momentum matching amplifies interaction – an aspect previously associated only with high-energy – gamma – photons in classical Compton scattering. Ultimately, our research paves the way to broaden conventional optical spectroscopies beyond their typical applications in chemical analysis, such as traditional vibrational Raman spectroscopy into the realm of structural studies – the information that should be intimately linked with photon momentum.”

Potma added: “This newly realized property of light no doubt will open a new realm of applications in optoelectronics. The phenomenon will boost the efficiency of solar energy conversion devices and light-emitting materials, including materials that were previously considered not suitable for light emission.”

Co-authors on this study included Jovany Merham, a UC Irvine junior specialist in chemistry, and Kazan Federal University researchers Sergey Kharintsev, Elina Battalova and Aleksey Noskov. The project received financial support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Kazan Federal University.

UC Irvine’s Brilliant Future campaign: Publicly launched on Oct. 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support for the university. By engaging 75,000 alumni and garnering $2 billion in philanthropic investment, UC Irvine seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. The School of Physical Sciences plays a vital role in the success of the campaign. Learn more by visiting https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu/uci-school-of-physical-sciences.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UC Irvine is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UC Irvine has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UC Irvine, visit www.uci.edu.

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UC Irvine news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at https://news.uci.edu/media-resources.

Click here to read full article on the UCI School of Physical Sciences website.

Click here to read full article on UCI News.

UCI Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic Accepts Applications for the Multiscale Biophotonics Training Program

UCI Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic is now accepting applications for the annual 11-day summer Multiscale Biophotonics: A Platform for Interdisciplinary Research Training and Career Development Program to be held July 23, 2024 to August 2, 2024 on the UCI campus.  The program is a National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)-sponsored Innovative Programs to Enhance Research training (IPERT) initiative.

The curriculum for academic and industry partners consists of lectures by recognized experts, hands-on labs and demonstrations, career development workshops, problem-based learning and team science activities aimed at developing technical, operational and professional skills in Biophotonics.

Application areas include:

  • Biological Microscopy
  • Optical Dosimetry
  • Optical Property Determination
  • Wide-Field Spectroscopy and Imaging
  • Physiological Monitoring

Topics include:

  • Electromagnetic Wave Propagation
  • Radiative Transport
  • Monte Carlo Methods
  • Diffuse Optics

The short course is followed by a year-long capstone problem-based learning project and supported by technical and professional mentorship. The project is designed to solidify the mastery of the technical content and advance the career development goals of trainees.

For more information, please contact Program Directors Bernard Choi, Ph.D., at choib@uci.edu or Vasan Venugopalan, Sc.D., at vvenugop@uci.edu.

Click here to apply today.

Wilder-Smith named UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s 2023 Innovator of the Year

Photo Credit: Paul Kennedy

Petra Wilder-Smith, Director of Dentistry of UCI Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic and Professor of Surgery of UCI School of Medicine, was awarded UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s 2023 Innovator of Year during a ceremony held on Monday, April 29, 2024.  Wilder-Smith was recognized for her wide range of global and community collaborations on light-based approaches to oral health, including periodontology, dental-decay-de- and remineralization and biofilm.  Her work spans predictive and diagnostic, as well as therapeutic innovation and applications.

The UCI Innovator Awards Ceremony is an annual event, created by UCI Beall Applied Innovation and hosted at the Cove at UCI to recognize UCI researchers who are working actively to promote commercialization of university research.  The Innovator of Year awarded to Wilder-Smith recognizes distinguished innovators who have demonstrated excellence by developing a breakthrough idea, process or technology and shown its transformational potential to improve lives and create economic value.

About the UCI Beall Applied Innovation Innovator Awards

UCI Beall Applied Innovation, with generous support from Don and Ken Beall, created the annual UCI Innovator Awards to recognize UCI researchers working actively to promote commercialization of university intellectual property, which supports industry growth and moves inventions from the lab to market to benefit humankind.

Click here to learn more about Petra Wilder-Smith.

Click here to visit the UCI Beall Applied Innovation website and learn more about the 2023 Innovator Award recipients.

UCI School of Medicine 2024 Research Awards

The School of Medicine Office of Research annually recognizes excellence in research and outstanding academic achievement in six categories. Selection criteria include: academic accomplishment, original contribution to the literature, significance of innovation to the field and relevance to the aims and priorities of the UCI School of Medicine. Each awardee receives a monetary award and an individual recognition plaque. Winners’ names are also added to an enduring plaque on display in Irvine Hall. An awards ceremony is planned for June 13, 2024.


Outstanding Mid-Career Faculty Research Award Winners

Basic Science: Shawn (Liangzhong) Xiang, PhD, Department of Radiological Sciences

Clinical Research: Mihaela Balu, PhD, Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic

About the Outstanding Mid-Career Faculty Research Award

The Outstanding Mid-Career Faculty Research Award recognizes mid-career scientists who have made novel and significant scientific contributions.  This includes associate and full professors in the Health Sciences Clinical, Clinical X, In-Residence, In-Line and Adjunct series. Two awardees are selected, including one focused on basic research and one focused on clinical research.  Each recipient receives $1,000.

Read more on the UCI School of Medicine website.


Lucas Van Wyk Joel | UCI Physical Sciences Communications

The award will help Lee and his lab develop optical fiber technology for advanced imaging.

Professor Howard Lee of the UC Irvine Department of Physics & Astronomy recently received a Partnerships for Innovation award from the National Science Foundation. The award will give Lee and his lab $550,000 over two years to develop fiber-optical technology for advanced imaging applications. 

“Optical endoscopes are critical for surgical and other medical applications where the optical probe allows for real-time, non-invasive detection of the interior of an organ inside the human body with high resolution and biochemical information,” said Lee, who’s a member of UCI’s Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic as well as the Eddleman Quantum Institute. “However, existing optical fiber endoscopes are bulky and have limited imaging capability.”

With the new funding, Lee’s lab will work to develop a new kind of optical fiber based on nanotechnology that will enable compact imaging devices that are a few hundred micrometers in diameter – similar in size to a human hair – which will allow for expanded applications in medical settings.

The NSF award goes to proposals that show a high promise of developing technologies that will make their way to market. “Our team will also undergo an NSF National I-Corps Teams training – a seven-week entrepreneurial training program that facilitates the transformation of an invention into market impact,” said Lee.

Lee added: “I’d like to thank Dean James Bullock and Professor Reginald Penner of the School of Physical Sciences for promoting entrepreneurship and commercialization for scientists, and for organizing different industry-related events. Through industry events like Shark Tank, I got to know different Industry Advisory Committee members and investors, such as Michael Colaco and Shiv Grewal from Auctus Global Capital who are now serving as industry mentors for our project.”

Read more on the UCI School of Physical Sciences website.

Choi Named an AIMBE Fellow

 By Lori Brandt, UCI Samueli School of Engineering

March 26, 2024 – The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has inducted Bernard Choi into its 2024 Class of the College of Fellows. Choi, a professor of biomedical engineering, was recognized for his “outstanding contributions to developing optical techniques to image microvascular structure and function and for serving the biophotonics and biomedical engineering community.”

Choi’s research interests include the development and application of in vivo optical imaging methods and technologies for monitoring of biological tissues in normal and diseased states, and for novel therapy discovery. He also leads research efforts on the use of chemical agents to reduce the optical scattering of biological tissue.

Choi was among 163 fellows who were inducted at the AIMBE Annual Event in Arlington, Virginia, on March 25, 2024. AIMBE fellows are selected for their outstanding contributions in their field. A prestigious professional distinction, the College of Fellows represents the top 2% of medical and biological engineers in the country.

“It is an absolute honor to be inducted into AIMBE,” said Choi. “I am very grateful to my colleagues in biomedical engineering and at the Beckman Laser Institute, and especially to the outstanding members of my laboratory over the past two decades, with whom it has been a tremendous pleasure to work. I also am eternally thankful to my family for their support.”

AIMBE’s mission is to recognize excellence, advance public understanding, and accelerate medical and biological innovation. Its College of Fellows includes over 1,500 honorees who work in academia, industry, clinical practice and government.

Click here to read full article on the UCI Samueli School of Engineering website.

Bernard Choi Inducted into the 2024 Class of the AIMBE College of Fellows

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the induction of Bernard Choi, Ph.D., Professor at University of California, Irvine to its College of Fellows.Election to the AIMBE College of Fellows is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to medical and biological engineers, comprised of the top two percent of engineers in these fields. College membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering and medicine research, practice, or education” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of medical and biological engineering or developing/implementing innovative approaches to bioengineering education.”

Dr. Choi was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows “for outstanding contributions to developing optical techniques to image microvascular structure and function and serving the biophotonics and BME community.”

A formal induction ceremony was held during the AIMBE Annual Event at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia on March 25, 2024. Dr. Choi was inducted along with 162 colleagues who make up the AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2024.

While most AIMBE Fellows hail from the United States, the College of Fellows has inducted Fellows representing more than 30 countries. AIMBE Fellows are employed in academia, industry, clinical practice, and government.

AIMBE Fellows are among the most distinguished medical and biological engineers including 3 Nobel Prize laureates and 22 Presidential Medal of Science and/or Technology and Innovation awardees. Additionally, 214 Fellows have been inducted to the National Academy of Engineering, 117 inducted to the National Academy of Medicine, and 48 inducted to the National Academy of Sciences.

AIMBE is the authoritative voice and advocate for the value of medical and biological engineering to society. AIMBE’s mission is to recognize excellence, advance public understanding, and accelerate medical and biological innovation. No other organization brings together academic, industry, government, and scientific societies to form a highly influential community advancing medical and biological engineering. AIMBE’s mission drives advocacy initiatives into action on Capitol Hill and beyond.

Click here to read the full AIMBE press release.

Potma Releases Foundations of Nonlinear Optical Microscopy

Concise yet comprehensive resource presenting the foundations of nonlinear optical microscopy

Foundations of Nonlinear Optical Microscopy brings together all relevant principles of nonlinear optical (NLO) microscopy, presenting NLO microscopy within a consistent framework to allow for the origin of the signals and the interrelation between different NLO techniques to be understood. The text provides rigorous yet practical derivations, which amount to expressions that can be directly related to measured values of resolution, sensitivity, and imaging contrast.

The book also addresses typical questions students ask, and answers them with clear explanations and examples. Readers of this book will develop a solid physical understanding of NLO microscopy, appreciate the advantages and limitations of each technique, and recognize the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.

Foundations of Nonlinear Optical Microscopy covers sample topics such as:

  • Light propagation, focusing of light, pulses of light, classical description of light-matter interactions, and quantum mechanical description of light-matter interactions
  • Molecular transitions, selection rules, signal radiation, and detection of light
  • Multi-photon fluorescence and pump-probe microscopy
  • Harmonic generation, sum-frequency generation, and coherent Raman scattering

Senior undergraduate and graduate students in chemistry, physics, and biomedical engineering, along with students of electrical engineering and instructors in both of these fields, can use the information within Foundations of Nonlinear Optical Microscopy and the included learning resources to gain a concise yet comprehensive overview of the subject.

About the Author

Eric Olaf Potma is Professor at the University of California, Irvine, in the Department of Chemistry. His research interests are quantitative imaging with nonlinear optical microscopy, nonlinear optics of individual molecules and nanostructures, and nonlinear optical scan probe microscopy.

Product Details

ISBN: 9781119814887 | ISBN-10: 111981488X
Publisher: Wiley | Publication Date: March 19th, 2024
Pages: 448 | Language: English

Click here to visit the UCI Potma Labs website.

Click here to purchase book at wiley.com.

Click here to purchase book at amazon.com.