On 8th February 2018, Prof Adrian Podoleanu and other members of the Applied Optics Group (AOG) hosted around 50 participants in Darwin Conference Centre for an Image Guided Therapies (IGT) Network meeting. The Network, which is funded by the EPSRC and co-ordinated by University College London, has over 100 members from academia, medicine and industry, and aims to fertilise and enhance collaboration in the areas of simulation, imaging, sensing, computing and robotics for surgery and intervention.

Adrian Bradu presenting

In the morning, tours were offered of the Photonics Centre, with live demonstrations of optical coherence tomography (OCT), endomicroscopy, adaptive optics and photoacoustics. After lunch, the main scientific sessions were introduced by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Philippe de Wilde who highlighted the prominant role of the AOG within Kent’s research output, and the growing importance of clinically relevant research to the University’s strategy.

Attendees then had the opportunity to hear about some of the latest developments in optical imaging for surgery and therapy.

Talks included Samuel Kemp from the Royal Brompton Hospital, presenting the strong clinical case for image-guided intervention in the lung, Ioan Notingher from the University of Nottingham, on Raman spectroscopy for rapid evaluation of tumour margins, and Manuel Marques from Kent, giving an update on the REBOT project to develop robot-guided imaging catheters. Adrian Bradu and Adrian Podoleanu then took the opportunity to highlight the latest work in Kent on high-speed processing and visualisation of OCT images, and the potential role of OCT in guiding medical interventions.

The poster session

The day was also a chance for early stage researchers to present their work, both through posters and a special oral session. Yong Hu and Michael Everson from the AOG gave short presentations on their work in phase-sensitive detection of heating of gold nanorods and optimisation of polygon-mirror swept sources, and several other students from the AOG and School of Physical Sciences presented posters.

Most importantly, the meeting was an opportunity for networking and to sow the seeds for new collaborations to develop and use optical techniques to improve patient outcomes. We look forward to hearing more at the next network meeting in London this June.