Engineering dean announces creation of Biophotonics Center at Vanderbilt


School of Engineering Dean Philippe Fauchet has announced the establishment of The Biophotonics Center at Vanderbilt.

The newest research center in the school “will regroup not only the faculty members who focus on biomedical applications inside and outside engineering, but also those faculty members whose main research activities include other subfields of photonics,” Fauchet said.

Anita Mahadevan-Jansen, the Orrin H. Ingram Professor of Biomedical Engineering and professor of neurological surgery, was appointed the center’s founding director. Forty faculty members from 25 academic departments across Vanderbilt University and clinical departments in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center will be affiliated with the research center. Funding in the area of biophotonics research at Vanderbilt totals nearly $25 million.


The research mission encompasses three main areas: cancer photonics, neurophotonics, and nano-biophotonics.  The thematic focus of this center will be on translational research of photonic technologies for biomedical research and clinical use, with translation both to the clinic as well as to the commercial sector. The center will develop targeted educational programs for medical residents and fellows as well as graduate students and undergraduate students.

“At Vanderbilt we have many of the building blocks already in place to establish a world-class program that will span the range from the laboratory bench to the bedside and from the academic environment to the marketplace,” said Mahadevan-Jansen.

The Biophotonics Center also will include researchers in the School of Medicine and the College of Arts & Science and interface with existing centers and institutes such as the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science, the Brain Institute, and the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education.

The center is headquartered in the recently renovated research space in the W.M. Keck Free Electron Laser building. The specialized layout and design of this unique building make it an ideal location for the Biophotonics Center’s research and teaching labs, as well as faculty, staff and graduate student offices.

The FEL building is located near the physical center of the Vanderbilt campus, adjacent to Featheringill and Jacobs halls, the Stevenson Center Science and Engineering Building and less than 300 yards from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“This level of cross-campus collaboration, a unique feature of the university’s academic culture, accommodates an integrated effort to establish a leading center aimed at fundamental discovery and research, as well as translation of optical technologies aimed at improving patient care,” said Mahadevan-Jansen.

Christopher Rowe, (615) 322-3479
Twitter @VUEngineering