21 June 2010

Russia promotes Biophotonics – SSU to develop 1st dedicated course of studies in Russia

Thanks to its scientific expertise and its substantial involvement in international research activities like Photonics4Life the Biophotonics group from SSU has won several grants of remarkable extent during the last days. The group won the competition for the Russian Federation Research-Educational Centers involved in the seventh framework program of the EU with their proposal "Designing of novel photonics technologies for study of biophysical processes in living organisms on sub cellular, cellular and tissue levels for non-invasive and minimal-invasive diagnostics and therapy”. The connected grant includes funding in the range of more than 300,000€ for three years to support the group’s research activities within Photonics4Life. “The grants show that our multiple efforts in research but also in education have well paid off and are now widely recognized to make us the Russian leaders in Biophotonics,” says Valery Tuchin, head of the Biophotonics group from SSU.

A few weeks ago Saratov State University was already granted the status of a National Research University of Russia. Russian President Medvedev had launched this pilot program to create national research universities across Russia as part of a larger national effort to modernize Russia’s educational system. Only 27 Russian Universities were assigned this title. Achievements of SSU Biophotonics group were critical to get this grant, because it has the best publications and citation index in SSU and among many other Universities (around 4000). The portion of the group will be around 3,800,000€ for the next five years. In the application for the grant the group also proposed to establish a unique education programme on Biophotonics, which consist of a Bachelor on Physics in Life Sciences and a Master on Biophotonics.

“Valery is one of the most eager colleagues in Biophotonics and I really appreciate that by giving him the chance to establish this course the State of Russia now puts as much trust in his fabulous work as I do.”, says Jürgen Popp, the coordinator of the network Photonics4Life. Once the courses proves successful, they will be added to the curricula throughout the country, where so far only related courses like medical physics or biochemical physics touched the Biophotonics sphere, but did not take the whole interdisciplinary world behind it into account.

The SSU is one of the largest educational, scientific and cultural centers in Russia with many departments and research laboratory facilities supporting education and research in biophysics, medical and biochemical physics, biomedical optics and Biophotonics, nanotechnologies, computer science, nonlinear processes, and materials science & bioengineering. The University campus is shared with Saratov State Medical University, it is affiliated with the specialized clinics and hosts clinical research and investigation. Photonics and Biophotonics research and developments (R&D) as well as educational programs are concentrated in two major SSU divisions: Chair of Optics and Biophotonics and Research-Educational Institute of Optics and Biophotonics. Around 60 research and faculty members are involved in photonics and biophotonics studies and education, including 10 full professors and 30 PhD and MD. Two student Chapters of SPIE and OSA are well functioning on the basis of these divisions.

Round Robin Experiment

Raman spectroscopy has already proved its effectiveness in many cases for medical diagnostics such as for cancer, cardiovascular diseases and infections. However, there are no standards in the different working groups, e.g. for sample preparation, implementation of the Raman experiments, spectra pre-treatment, data evaluation, etc.In a round robin experiment, the required groundwork will take place in order to define standardised Raman measurement methods, which will be fundamental for establishing Raman spectroscopy for clinical diagnostic procedures.

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