Thursday, May 3, 1 - 2pm

James G. Fujimoto, PhD

James Fujimoto

Elihu Thomson Professor of Electrical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

James Fujimoto pioneered OCT imaging in ophthalmology, now considered the standard of care with more than 30 million procedures performed worldwide every year. OCT can be combined with a range of instruments and Fujimoto is currently developing advanced optical imaging for cancer detection including endoscopic OCT and surgical guidance. 

History, Evolution and Future Prospects of Optical Coherence Tomography 

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an example of a biomedical optical technology that has been translated from laboratory to clinical practice. OCT originated from ultrafast optics, interferometry and optical communications. It generates high resolution, cross-sectional and three dimensional images of tissues by measuring the time delay of backscattered light. OCT enables "optical biopsy", visualizing tissue pathology in real time without requiring excisional biopsy or histological processing. Functional imaging of Doppler blood flow and OCT Angiography vascular contrast is also possible. OCT has applications where biopsy is hazardous or impossible, guiding excisional biopsy to reduce sampling errors, as well as guiding interventions or monitoring treatment response. 

In ophthalmology, OCT has helped diagnose retinal disease at early treatable stages, reducing irreversible vision loss. The technology has facilitated pharmaceutical development and contributed to fundamental understanding of disease mechanisms. The development of OCT would not have been possible without a complex ecosystem involving interaction among physics, engineering, and clinical medicine; government funding of fundamental and clinical research; collaborative and competitive research in the academic sector; entrepreneurship and industry investment; and contributions from young career professionals.

This year’s Beckman-Argyros Award in Vision Research lecture discusses the history and evolution of OCT from fundamental research to clinical practice as well as its future prospects.