The Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory is a highly interdisciplinary research lab that develops innovative optical biomedical imaging technologies not only for investigating fundamental biology, but also for translating these technologies for clinical applications.  While the term “bench-to-bedside” is most often associated with this translational research process, we believe that this only achieves half our goal of changing the standards of healthcare.  Research must not only be translational, but also transformational.  To truly transform medicine, surgery, and our healthcare, innovative ideas and technologies must be commercialized for the greatest dissemination through partnerships with industry, governments, and private foundations.

Boppart SA, Richards-Kortum R.   Point-of-Care and point-of-procedure optical imaging technologies for primary care and global health.   Science Translational Medicine, 6:253rv2, 2014. 2014 PubMed Abstract PDF

To date, there have been two examples of technologies that have emerged from the Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory and are being commercialized through start-up companies co-founded by Prof. Stephen Boppart and his colleagues:


Diagnostic Photonics, Inc. ( has developed an optical imaging platform based on computational advances in optical coherence tomography, which allows for the high-resolution, real-time, label-free imaging of tissue microstructure.  Studies have used this platform for the investigation of surgical tumor margins in breast cancer surgery.  Diagnostic Photonics has 510(k) clearance from the FDA for their imaging system for use as an imaging tool by providing two-dimensional cross-sectional depth visualization.  The system is also CE marked and indicated in Europe for the evaluation of human tissue microstructure and tumor margins. 

PhotoniCare, Inc. ( has developed an optical sensing and imaging platform based on low-coherence interferometry, optical coherence tomography, and video-based optical imaging which allows for depth-resolved measurements of optical scattering from within the human middle ear.  Clinical studies are underway to demonstrate the use of this information in assessing ear infections (otitis media) in the primary care or specialist clinic.  PhotoniCare technology promises to create a new paradigm that shortens the disease cycle, yielding enormous quality of life benefits for patients and their families, and economic benefits for providers and payers.

Several other technologies from the Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory are in the pipeline for commercialization via licensing by start-ups or established companies, including new optical sources, methods and devices for optical biomedical imaging, and approaches that will change the way we detect, diagnose, and monitor human disease.  Additional information can be found under Patents, and by contacting the Office of Technology Management at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (