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SPIE-Hillenkamp Fellowship

SPIE-Franz Hillenkamp Postdoctoral Fellowship

The SPIE-Franz Hillenkamp Fellowship provides an annual award of US$75,000 to translate new biomedical optics and biophotonics technologies to clinical practice for improving human health.

The fellowship honors Hillenkamp's distinguished career as a researcher, teacher, and mentor who had an enormous international impact. A German scientist, he introduced the first medical laser applications laboratory and marked the genesis of translational research in biomedical optics in Europe in the 1970s.

The application cycle for the 2021 fellowship is now open.

Franz Hillenkamp
Franz Hillenkamp


Apply for the Fellowship

Applying for the Fellowship

Young investigators with a PhD, MD, or equivalent degree are eligible to apply. There are no restrictions on geographical location; however, applicants and hosting labs must propose original research in biomedical optics that is expected to lead to new diagnostics and/or therapeutics in medicine and biology.

Learn more about the process.


Support the Fellowship

The fellowship program is founded by SPIE and the family and friends of Franz Hillenkamp, as well as three Founding Labs: the Wellman Center for Photomedicine and the Manstein Lab in the Cutaneous Biology Research Center, both at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston (USA), and the Medical Laser Center Lübeck (Germany). 

Labs and organizations may further support the fellowship through partnership or industry sponsorship. Learn more.

Support the Fellowship


Meet the 2020 Fellowship Recipient

2020 Recipient Fernando Zvietcovich

Fernando Zvietcovich, currently a PhD candidate at the University of Rochester, works on translating a novel biophotonics-based optical coherence elastography (OCE) method, developed and designed for the non-invasive quantification of corneal spatial biomechanical properties in 3D, into the in vivo clinical use for human ocular disease diagnostics and treatment monitoring.

Read the press release about Zvietcovich, his work, and the upcoming award ceremony at Photonics West 2020.

2019 Recipients Jie Hui and Andreas Wartak

Dr. Jie Hui of the Boston University Photonics Center conducts research focused on a light-based approach to treat MRSA-caused diseases. Dr. Andreas Wartak of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine will target an earlier, cheaper, and less invasive diagnosis of eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). Read the press release.

2018 Recipients Haley Marks and Jan Philip Kolb

Dr. Haley Marks of the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital received the inaugural fellowship is an SPIE Member and postdoctoral researcher at the Wellman Center. She was recognized for her work on a luminescent oxygen-sensing, drug-releasing bandage that provides quantitative visual feedback for clinical treatment guidance. Read the press release.

On behalf of the Hillenkamp Fellowship Committee and Thorlabs, SPIE presented a second sponsored award to Jan Philip Kolb of the Medical Laser Center Lübeck (Germany)for his work on fiber-based nanosecond two-photon microscopy (nsTPM) which can be translated to clinical applications, such as pathology and endoscopy. The project investigates new wavelengths and compares the results with conventional haemotoxylin and eosin (H&E) stained microscopy.


The Fellowship Committee

Rox Anderson (Chair)

Gabriela Apiou (Co-Chair)

Jennifer Barton

Irving Bigio

Reginald Birngruber

Matthew Brenner

Ralf Brinkmann

Brad Ferguson

Jost Hillenkamp

Charles Lin

Dieter Manstein

John Parrish

Gary Tearney

The Fellowship Review Committee

Christoph Hitzenberger

Hans Joachim Laubach

Harvey Lui

Daniel Palanker

Joseph (Jay) Walsh