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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of California-Davis
  • Dennis L Matthews
  • (916) 734-8600
Award Date:09/17/2002
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 23,928,170
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 39,323,651
  • FY 2003=$3,992,122
  • FY 2011=$2,623,743
  • FY 2008=$3,946,268
  • FY 2009=$4,534,097
  • FY 2006=$3,911,540
  • FY 2002=$4,030,888
  • FY 2007=$3,963,706
  • FY 2004=$5,023,390
  • FY 2005=$3,998,989
  • FY 2010=$3,298,908
Start Date:08/01/2002
End Date:11/30/2013
Transaction Type: Cooperative Agreements
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.049
Primary Program Source:490100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology
Federal Award ID Number:0120999
DUNS ID:047120084
Parent DUNS ID:071549000
Program:STC CLASS OF 2002
Program Officer:
  • C. Caldwell
  • (703) 292-7371

Awardee Location

Street:OR/Sponsored Programs
Awardee Cong. District:03

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of California-Davis
Street:OR/Sponsored Programs
Cong. District:03

Abstract at Time of Award

Biophotonics is the science of generating and using light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon for visualization, measurements, analysis, and manipulation of biological materials. The discipline strives to exploit the high spatial resolution, sensitivity, and spectral specificity of photonics to understand and affect biological structure and/or function. The Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology (CBST), an NSF Science and Technology Center, is a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional activity designed to support a goal-directed, sustained effort to broadly advance the science of biophotonics. Center activities are spread over four university campuses, UC Davis, UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The CBST emphasizes vertical integration of knowledge and applications that span the intellectual landscape, from creating new instrumentation and techniques to helping understand molecular mechanisms to providing technology that will enable the creation and development of important new biomedical tools. Research at the Center is divided among four strategic thrust areas: 1) biomolecular mechanisms; 2) imaging and diagnostics; 3) computational biophotonics; and 4) biomedical applications. The area of biomolecular mechanisms concentrates on experiments and tools related to the newly emerging field of single molecule imaging and detection, methodologies that are used in individual projects to investigate on a sub-cellular level molecular mechanisms related to DNA-protein interactions. The area of imaging and diagnostics focuses on the development of new instruments for a number of imaging methodologies, including ultra-high resolution optical microscopy, imaging non-linear optical properties of tissues, optical interference imaging through otherwise opaque tissue, and imaging tissue oxygenation by NIR imaging. Computational biophotonics focuses on the application of new simulation codes and supercomputers to support the projects in areas one and two and, in general, increase the understanding of photonic transport in and interaction with tissue. The area of biomedical applications focuses on optimizing and applying existing technologies to significant medical problems, including hyperspectral microscopy for searching for new optical signatures of disease, development of new, light-activated materials for surgical applications, and the utilization of x-ray sources for protein crystallography and live cell imaging. The centerpiece of the educational activity is the development of a series of six teaching modules, or "stepping stones," that bring the concepts of light, biology, and biophotonics to students from kindergarten (Step One, K-3) through graduate and post-doctoral research (Step Six). Central to the concept of the "stepping stones" approach is that the modules emphasize hands-on science activities promoting scientific inquiry and concept development. The "stepping stones modules" are disseminated widely to schools in the community through various mechanisms, among them the MESA and 4-H Youth Development Program. The Center has a strong, collaborative program for fostering outreach to and participation by non-center researchers in research activities. An Industry Partners Consortium (IPC) is used to bring interested members from industry together with CBST participants for the purpose of knowledge exchange, collaborative research, and the direct transfer of intellectual property and technology know-how to the commercial sector.

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

The NSF Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology (CBST) was established in 2002 at UC Davis and 8 partner institutions (Mills College, UC San Francisco, UT San Antonio, Alabama A&M, Fisk University, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Stanford University and UC Berkeley), to develop and apply photon-based tools and techniques, to meet major challenges in medicine and biology.

Light is very versatile as it can be used to image, analyze, and manipulate living tissue at cellular and molecular level, in a noninvasive or minimally invasive manner. The highly interdisciplinary Center projects brought together physicists, chemists, biologists, physicians, biomedical engineers, other engineers and scientists, to advance knowledge in the field of biophotonics and apply it to biology and medicine. Between 2002 and 2013, scientists affiliated with CBST published over 750 papers, hosted or co-hosted over 40 conferences and workshops, and received additional research grants and awards based on preliminary data generated during Center-funded projects.

Some of the Center’s Science & Technology legacy achievements include:

  • Development of the first commercial superresolution widefield fluorescence microscope, using structured illumination techniques to break the diffraction limit of light, in collaboration with UCSF and an industry partner, Applied Precision Inc. (API, acquired by GE Healthcare in 2011).
  • Technology to analyze the molecular structure of protein nanocrystals and eventually single proteins, using the Linac Coherent Light Source.
  • First video evidence of the direct transfer of HIV between living cells.
  • Development of a new class of switchable fluorescent proteins based on plant phytochromes.
  • Extensive development and applications of Raman spectroscopy and related techniques to characterize living cells and differentiate healthy from diseased cells, with applications in stem cell research, cardiovascular medicine, infectious diseases, and cancer.
  • Single cell laser tweezer Raman spectroscopy and cytometry
  • Time-gated spectroscopy
  • Sensors and assays, with applications in diagnostics and monitoring of disease as well as treatment
  • Label-free imaging methods, such as Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy (CARS), Second Harmonic Generation (SHG), applied to various biological systems
  • Development and application of advanced microscopy and spectroscopy technologies to enable point-of-care diagnostics and telemedicine.
  • Devices for endoscopy and pathology imaging

The Education Program at the Center is widely regarded as the most successful and productive among the NSF Science and Technology Centers, providing curricula and experiential opportunities to over 180 undergraduate students as well as 360 participating graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, including from underrepresented groups. Opportunities afforded by CBST spanned a wide spectrum, from outreach to primary, middle, and high school, to education and research curricula for community college and undergraduate students, and on to graduate education. CBST alumni have successful careers in industry (majority) and academia, or are pursuing advanced studies in research, teaching, and medicine.

The Center’s Knowledge Transfer Program enabled the exchange of scientific and technical information with the objective of disseminating and utilizing knowledge broadly, from fundamental research collaborations to technology solutions for challenges in biology and medicine, and technology commercialization. CBST scientists and staff engaged in a wide range of partnerships with approximately 50 companies, including Center visits, exploratory meetings, invited speakers, sponsorship of conferences and symposia, financial and in-kind contributions, as collaborative projec...

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