A scientist developing a hand-held probe for the non-invasive, in vivo prospective assessment of tumour chemo-sensitivity at the time of surgery has won the Edmund Optics 2016 Norman Edmund Inspiration Award.
Dr Sangeeta Murugkar, an assisstant Professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, has received $5,000 in Edmund Optics products.
Dr Murugkar's proposed project uses Raman micro-spectroscopy and imaging to differentiate between ovarian tumour cells that are inherently resistant or sensitive to chemotherapy. When applied in the clinical setting, this technique could enable prospective assessment of tumour chemo-sensitivity at the time of surgery – a first in the field – which could potentially increase the chance of curing patients with ovarian cancer.
One of the criteria for selecting a winner for the Norman Edmund award is how the research project inspires others to pursue a career in optics or optical research. The optical imaging techniques developed in this project have an ability to make a real difference in reducing patient suffering and improving patient survival.
‘As a cancer survivor, I have seen the world from both sides of the spectrum. I am thus highly motivated to help improve cancer prognosis and reduce patient suffering,’ said Dr Murugkar. ‘We have recently shown that Raman micro-spectroscopy is a highly sensitive technique to discriminate between normal and malignant ovarian epithelial cells.’
The Norman Edmund Inspiration Award honours the contributions made by Norman Edmund to advance the science of optics. The recipient of the award is chosen from among the 30 global finalists of the 2016 Educational Award in the Americas and Europe, who best represent the legacy of Norman Edmund.