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Educational Award Sheild 2023

Congratulations 2023 Educational Award Winners!

The Edmund Optics Educational Award is an initiative to support outstanding undergraduate and graduate optics programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at non-profit colleges and universities.

Americas Winners:
Educational Award Sheild 2023 Award Amounts
EMEA Winners:
Educational Award Sheild 2023 Award Amounts

Gold Award Winner - Americas Gold America-$10,000 in Products

Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciai, Brazil, submitted by Danilo Almeida Machado

For a Telecentric optical system developed for rocket injector spray analysis. The modified commercial system provided high-resolution images, facilitating the investigation of spray dynamics from the pressure swirl injector.

The integrated optical system and spray physics analysis allows a thorough characterization for cold tests of combustion injectors. The system innovates by analyzing microscopic and macroscopic spray features simultaneously, including droplet size, liquid film instability wave length, droplet velocity, spray cone angle, and breakup length. Leveraging TitanTL telecentric optics provided a cost-effective and simple-to-operate solution.

Gold Award Winner - Americas Gold Europe- €7,000 in Products

University of Twente, Netherlands, submitted by Jelle Schoppink

For laser-induced cavitation in a microfluidic channel for fast jet generation. The thin jet is fast enough to penetrate the skin and therefore deliver medication without a needle.

Within our project we aim to deliver medication without the use of needles. This would reduce waste (44 million needles a day, even before covid vaccinations), help people with fear of needles to get their vaccination or other injection, and would avoid needle-stick incidents. Although needle-free jet injection has already been there since the 1960s, there have been various problems, like splash-back of blood (resulting in HIV outbreaks), bruising, and lack of injection control. Therefore, needle-free jet injection is not used on a large scale.

Silver Award Winner Americas - Universidad de Guadalajara Silver Americas- $7,500 in Products

Centro Universitario de los Lagos, Mexico, submitted by Samuel Mardoqueo Afanador Delgado

For a project using Z-scan, to identify the non-linear optical properties of the genomic DNA of healthy and breast cancer cells, to make an early diagnosis in patients with this type of disease.

The annual mortality from breast cancer is 458,000 people and 1.38 million new cases. In Mexico, for every 100,000 women aged 20 years or older, 35.24 new cases are reported. Early diagnosis is the key to rapid and effective treatment to reduce the mortality rate and improve quality of life. Current diagnostic methods are invasive, as they are usually traumatic, dangerous and expensive for the patient. Taking advantage of the dynamics of the genomic DNA of cells and knowing that this dynamic is altered in cancer cells, differential patterns can be found in breast cells, through the analysis of the nonlinear optical properties of the genomic DNA analyzed with Z-scan, which would accurately identify a cancer cell in the breast tissue, making this optical method a non-invasive, reliable and accessible diagnostic tool for cancer.

Silver Award Winner Americas - Universidad de Guadalajara Silver Europe- €5,000 In Products

Kings College London, United Kingdom, submitted by Shiyue Liu

For developing a unified FTIR/Raman and mass spectrometry imaging instrument for the multidimensional analysis of molecules in triple negative breast cancer tissue samples.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) stands out as a particularly lethal disease, characterized by its high mortality rates. The current standard-of-care treatment for TNBC involves neoadjuvant chemotherapy; however, a substantial proportion of patients do not respond to this therapy. A key factor driving this aggressive disease is the high intra/intertumoral and interpatient heterogeneity. To tackle this challenge, optical design is used to create a FTIR-Raman-MS instrument, incorporating precision components from Edmund Optics. This groundbreaking instrument enables multidimensional analysis of molecular constituents within TNBC tissue samples. FTIR and Raman spectroscopy are complimentary, non-destructive, and fingerprint techniques, which provide structural and conformational molecular differences. MS can identify individual metabolites in complex tissue matrices accurately. This transformative imaging tool is poised to revolutionize the understanding of TNBC and its progression. It can help to identify novel therapeutic targets.

Bronze Award Winner - Americas Bronze Americas- $5,000 in Products

University of Arizona, United States, submitted by Dilara Long

For comparing structural and functional features of the uterotubal junction in women with and without endometriosis using optical coherence tomography imaging, and to develop a miniature minimally invasive endoscope for endometriosis diagnosis.

Currently, there is no reliable non-invasive imaging method capable of detecting early-stage endometriosis or providing a thorough assessment of the structural and functional integrity of the proximal fallopian tubes. Definitive diagnosis requires laparoscopic surgery, which is nonspecific, cannot assess the UTJ, and poses risks that make repeat surveillance difficult to justify. This proposes a novel approach using optical coherence tomography (OCT), a high- resolution imaging technique that enables visualization of microstructural features of small (<1 mm) luminal organs up to 3 mm below the surface. An OCT endoscope designed specifically for the UTJ could provide a non- destructive method to identify structural biomarkers and functional impairments related to EM, including subfertility. Our findings will have a significant impact on EM diagnosis and understanding, and our development of a low-cost, high-resolution OCT endoscope will address the unmet clinical need for a more specific, less invasive imaging procedure for endometriosis diagnosis.

Bronze Award Winner - Americas Bronze Europe- €3,000 in Products

New York University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, submitted by Jeremy Teo

For the development of a miniaturized brightfield microscopy system for evaluating 3D cell culture system, to be used for Space Biology research.

Using focus tunable lens and a miniaturized custom bright field microscopy system, there is an ability to image 3D cell culture systems in brightfield for space biology research, despite the spatial and weight constraints of simulated microgravity or autonomous experiments in real microgravity. The feasibility of tissue engineering in space is being investigated, which is a vital step in providing biomedical support for long distance, long duration, space flight beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and inhabitation of planets. Beyond LEO, the possibility of emergency retrieval of compromised individuals is close to zero and the possibility of tissue engineering replacement organs or applying current regenerative medicine strategies as space therapeutics holds exciting promise. With the award, the intent is to push to provide fluorescence capabilities.

Norman Edmund Inspiration Award

Norman Edmund Inspiration Award Winner

The Norman Edmund Inspiration Award is awarded to the program that best embodies the legacy of Edmund Optics’ founder Norman Edmund.

University of Arizona, United States, submitted by Dilara Long

For aiming to compare structural and functional features of the uterotubal junction in women with and without endometriosis using optical coherence tomography imaging, and to develop a miniature minimally invasive endoscope for endometriosis diagnosis.

This research project has the potential to bridge the gap between unmet clinical needs and state-of-the art, non-invasive optical technology, particularly in women's health applications. In the setting of endometriosis, minimally invasive optical technologies have the potential to reduce costs and complications, inform diagnosis and staging, monitor disease progression, and facilitate personalized treatment, ultimately reducing chronic pain, infertility, and even the risk of some cancers. It is the intent to show young students that their aptitude or interest in optical sciences can be harnessed toward improving health and wellness, particularly for marginalized populations.

Congratulations 2023 Finalists!

2023 Finalists - Americas

2023 Finalists - Europe