Optical Society honors Lihong Wang

LiHong Wang with a photoacoustic imaging system built in his lab.

The Optical Society (OSA) has awarded the C.E.K. Mees Medal to Lihong V. Wang, PhD, the Gene K. Beare Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.

The medal was given for Wang’s seminal contributions to photoacoustic tomography and Monte Carlo modeling of photon transport in biological tissues and for leadership in the international biophotonics community.

Wang published the seminal paper on functional imaging using photoacoustics in the July 2003 issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology.

In 2003, only some 30 presentations were made on photoacoustic tomography in the largest conference on this topic, but through the following years, that number rose dramatically: to 40 by 2004, 80 by 2007, and 132 in 2010. Wang and his lab were the founders of a new area of scientific inquiry — one that combined light and sound to create a new form of functional imaging — with many potential applications for cancer research.

“OSA is proud to recognize and honor the innovations and dedication of these leaders in the field,” OSA President Christopher Dainty says. “This year’s recipients have demonstrated significant contributions to the field of optics and photonics and OSA congratulates them on their remarkable accomplishments.”

Mees Medal

“This wonderful tribute from his peers is a testament to the importance of Lihong’s past and present contributions to the field of imaging,” says Frank Yin, MD, PhD, the Stephen F. and Camilla T. Brauer Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering and chair of the department. “His remarkably innovative and pioneering contributions, particularly in photoacoustics, promise to dramatically alter our approach to biomedical imaging in the not too distant future.”

The award was established in 1961 in memory of C. E. K. Mees, who contributed to the development of scientific photography. It is presented biennially to a recipient who exemplifies the thought that “optics transcends all boundaries,” interdisciplinary and international alike. The award was endowed by the Mees family.

Uniting more than 106,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives.