Tuan Vo-Dinh: The 2022 SPIE President’s Award

The SPIE President’s Award is presented to an individual who, in the opinion of the President and the Board of Directors, has rendered a unique and meritorious service of outstanding benefit to the Society
11 January 2022
Vo-Dinh, winner of the 2022 SPIE President's Award, with former graduate student Bridget Crawford.
Vo-Dinh, left, in his lab checking on an experiment with now-former graduate student Bridget Crawford.

A pioneer in biomedical optical imaging, Tuan Vo-Dinh's research has focused on the development of advanced technologies for the protection of the environment and the improvement of human health. His research activities involve nano-biophotonics, nanosensors, laser spectroscopy, molecular imaging, medical diagnostics, cancer detection, chemical sensors, biosensors, and biochips. He has invented numerous non-invasive life-saving devices to detect and diagnose toxins, biological damage, and disease that rely on laser and fiberoptic scans rather than surgery or biopsy. One of his earliest patents was for a dosimeter badge that alerted workers to exposure to toxic chemicals. He has since developed similar detection devices to warn of genetic damage, cancer, and diabetes.

Vo-Dinh, the R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, professor of chemistry, and director of the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics at Duke University, earned his PhD in biophysical chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich in 1975, emigrating to the US that year. Prior to joining Duke University in 2006, Vo-Dinh was director of the Center for Advanced Biomedical Photonics as well as a Corporate Fellow and group leader of the Advanced Biomedical Science and Technology Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He has won numerous awards during his distinguished career including the Tennessee Inventors Association's Inventor of the Year Award (1996), Distinguished Scientist of the Year at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (2003), the American Chemical Society's Award on Spectrochemical Analysis (2011), and the Royal Society of Chemistry's Sir George Stokes Award (2019). In 2017, he was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors.

In addition to the aforementioned achievements and accolades, Vo-Dinh has consistently shared his leadership and technical skills with the SPIE community. The SPIE Fellow has been a key contributor at the Society's symposia and conferences since 1992, and a longtime active conference committee member as well as taking on the role of conference chair for multiple SPIE conferences, including SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing and Photonics West's LASE and BiOS. He'll be reprising this role at BiOS in 2022.

"Tuan Vo-Dinh's various and far-reaching technical achievements are widely recognized," says 2022 SPIE President Anita Mahadevan-Jansen, who holds the Orrin H. Ingram Chair in Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University. "He somehow manages to do it all. He is a pioneer at the forefront of many disciplines, while also serving as the director of the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics and mentoring undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate trainees from all over the world. I particularly admire him for his generous spirit and engaged mentorship of both young and more established investigators. His patient guidance and measured approach to working with others is a shining example of how to mentor. He is a role model to many on how to be a world class scientist while also being humble and approachable."

Meet the other 2022 SPIE Society Award winners.

Read more about Tuan Vo-Dinh and the SPIE President's Award.

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