Mahadevan-Jansen elected chair of Gordon Research Conference

Anita Mahadevan-Jansen, Orrin H. Ingram Professor of Biomedical Engineering, has been elected chair of the Gordon Research Conference in Lasers in Medicine and Biology. For more than 75 years, the Gordon Conferences have been recognized as some of the world’s premier scientific conferences, where leading investigators from around the world discuss their latest work in an informal setting.

Anita Mahadevan-Jansen

Mahadevan-Jansen currently directs the Biomedical Photonics Laboratory at Vanderbilt, where she develops techniques that use light to monitor and affect tissue function and disease state. Beginning in 2016, she will serve a two-year term alongside co-chair Paul French of King’s College in London. She is the second woman to be elected chair in the history of the Lasers in Medicine & Biology conference.

With more than 24 years of experience, Mahadevan-Jansen is a prominent leader in the field of biomedical photonics. Her involvement in the organization of large international conferences such as SPIE, the international society for optics and phonics, and the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting has prepared her for this position.

The Gordon Research Conferences were started in 1931 to learn about frontier scientific problems. The unique conference format was born out of founder Neil Gordon’s belief that formal presentations paired with informal discussions fostered scientific innovation. In contrast to traditional scientific meetings, the Gordon conferences maintain an off-the-record policy that creates risk-free opportunities to present unpublished work. Limited attendance at each conference is designed to encourage active discussion, open exchange of ideas, and development of friendships. The conferences are set in remote locations with ample free time each afternoon for recreation and casual networking.

Mahadevan-Jansen has already begun brainstorming the changes she would like to make to the conference during her term. “My two biggest goals for this conference are first to refocus on cutting-edge research, which I believe has been lost in the last couple cycles of the conference, as well as increase the diversity of the meeting. I want to increase the number of women, minorities and participation from different countries,” Mahadevan-Jansen said.

By Melanie McWade