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Contag Receives 2017 Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award

Portrait Chris Contag

Christopher Contag, a pioneer of molecular imaging and chairperson of Michigan State University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, has receive the 2017 Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award from SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

The prestigious award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding lifetime contributions to the field of biomedical optics through the development of innovative, high-impact technologies.

Contag joined MSU on Nov. 1 as the inaugural director of the Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering in MSU’s new $69.8 million Bio Engineering Facility. Grand opening ceremonies for the 130,000-square-foot facility in October marked the start of a new era of scientific research at MSU.

Contag previously served as associate chief of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine at Stanford University, director of Stanford’s Center for Innovation in In Vivo Imaging and co-director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford.

In its citation, the SPIE Awards Committee commended Contag for his significant changes to the way we study biology in living tissue through his invention of in vivo optical imaging using bioluminescent and fluorescent reporters. This invention is one of the most significant advances in biomedical research in recent history, the citation noted.

Contag will accept the award at SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco in January, and give a talk on his work during the BiOS Hot Topics session. A frequent contributor to the event, he has authored more than three dozen proceedings papers in the SPIE Digital Library, and nearly 20 articles in the Journal of Biomedical Optics published by SPIE.