Naomi Halas, Director of the Laboratory of Nanophotonics and Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University in Houston, Texas, is the 2014 recipient of the SPIE Biophotonics Technology Innovator Award in recognition of her invention of biocompatible nanoparticles and their innovative applications in imaging, diagnostics, and photothermal cancer therapy. Halas pioneered the concept of the tunable plasmon resonance in optical materials by inventing a class of nanoparticles with optical resonances that can be “designed in” to the nanostructure. Her use of gold nanoshells in living systems is currently used in multiple clinical trials.
“Naomi has been an outstanding professor at Rice University for nearly 12 years,” said Robert Langer of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “She has done excellent research in pursuing applications of nanoshells in biomedicine, in applications relating to ultrafast immunoassays, optically triggerable drug delivery, early stage cancer detection, and photothermal cancer therapy.”
Halas is an SPIE Fellow and has served on program committees at SPIE Photonics West and SPIE Optics + Photonics since 2006. She has also served as an SPIE conference and session chair, has authored nearly 250 journal articles and book chapters, and has delivered more than 400 talks. Halas is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Physical Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the Optical Society (OSA). Her honors include the Alexander M. Cruickshank Award by Gordon Research Conferences in 2012, and the Cancer Innovator Award by the US Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research program in 2011.
Also in 2011, Halas was nominated by Thomson-Reuters as one of the top 100 chemists of the decade by impact. “Through her exceptional and pioneering work in nanoscience and plasmonics, two of the most important fields in modern science, Naomi has not only given birth to a spectacular and important new domain of research at the interface conjoining materials science, physics, chemistry and biomedical research, but has also served as a brilliant and inspiring example for women who are considering pursuing careers in science and engineering,” said Martin Moskovits of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The Biophotonics Technology Innovator Award is presented annually for extraordinary achievements in biophotonics technology development that show strong promise or potential impact in biology, medicine, and biomedical optics. The award targets achievements that span disciplines and may include elements of basic research, technology development, and clinical translation. For more information on the 2014 SPIE Award recipients and past winners, visit www.spie.org/x45.xml.
SPIE presents several yearly awards that recognize outstanding individual and team technical accomplishments and meritorious service to the Society. SPIE urges you to nominate a colleague for his or her outstanding achievements. Nominations may be made through October 1 of any given year and are considered active for three years from the submission date. Visit www.spie.org/x1164.xml for instructions and nomination forms. SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. The Society serves nearly 235,000 constituents from approximately 155 countries, offering conferences, continuing education, books, journals, and a digital library in support of interdisciplinary information exchange, professional networking, and patent precedent. SPIE provided $3.2 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2013.