This proposal aims to establish an Annual National Short Course in Computational Biophotonics that integrates biophysical concepts, mathematical, and computational approaches for the modeling of propagation and deposition of light in cells, tissues, and organisms. The Short Course will provide a foundation for modeling and simulating fundamental biophysical interactions and processes needed to make rapid, integrated advances in the field. The short course will help to release the full potential of opticl methods to provide unique approaches for imaging, physiological monitoring, manipulation and/or treatment of cells, tissues and organisms. The participating faculty of Laser Microbeam and Medical Program (LAMMP) at the UC, Irvine is ideally suited to host this annual workshop as it is one of only four NIH National Biomedical Technology Resource Centers (BTRCs) focused on the development and application of Optical Technologies in both Biology and Medicine. It is the only BTRC with a dedicated technology core devoted to modeling and computation. LAMMP draws upon substantial educational and research expertise - from a pool of more than 20 active faculty across 12 participating academic departments - to offer a training course to engage medical research fellows, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, faculty and industrial scientists from diverse scientific disciplines who have nascent interest in engaging in Biomedical Optics research. Each day's program will be organized around a theme devoted to the application of specific Biophotonics processes to significant biomedical problems. This design provides the context for the exposition of fundamental optical processes, modeling and computational approaches needed for proper utilization of these methods and subsequent analysis of measured biophotonic signals. We expect significant demand for such a Short Course due to the growth and broadening scope of Biophotonic methods to impact biomedical research (e.g., functional microscopy, imaging of pre-clinical animal models, optogenetics) and clinical translation for functional imaging, optical diagnosis, and treatment. The course format will combine didactic lectures, practical computational laboratories featuring custom- designed software, and interactive trainee presentations and discussion of laboratory results. The content and format of the short course builds upon successful 21/2 day Virtual Photonics Workshops that we have held in each of the past three years. These have served well to introduce Biophotonics modeling and computation to a broad multi-disciplinary cadre of graduate student, post-doctoral, medical fellow and industrial participants. However, these workshops exposed to expand and deepen the instruction to provide time for absorption and reinforcement of the course material and secure interdisciplinary experiential group learning activities. Beyond providing an intensive on-site training course, all course materials and customized modeling and simulation software will be made available over the Internet at no cost in order to maximize distribution and outreach.
Funding of this proposal will establish a weeklong, open-access annual short course at the University of California, Irvine for the training of scientists wth interests in acquiring computational skills to model Biophotonics processes. The field of Biophotonics develops and applies optical and photonic methods to image, characterize, manipulate and/or treat cells and tissues. The proposed short course targets a multi- disciplinary cohort of researchers that aim to make use of the modeling and computational skills they will gain to develop novel biophotonic approaches to investigate and advance a variety of health-related issues, including atherosclerosis, brain function, cancer, surgical guidance, and wound healing.