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Caroline Boudoux

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Caroline Boudoux is a Professor of Engineering Physics at Polytechnique Montréal, Canada, with appointments as a researcher at Ste-Justine Hospital, University of Montréal's Biomedical Engineering Institute, and Quebec's Center for Optics, Photonics, and Lasers (COPL). She completed a BASc in Engineering Physics at Université Laval, a PhD within the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (with Brett E. Bouma and Guillermo J. Tearney), and a postdoctoral fellowship at École Polytechnique de Paris (with Emmanuel Beaurepaire and Manuel Joffre).

Boudoux is recognized for her contributions to the field of biomedical optics, notably the design and application of novel fiber optics assemblies for endoscopic applications involving optical coherence tomography and confocal endomicroscopy. She received one of Canada's University Faculty Awards in 2008, was named Quebec's Star Researcher in 2011, and obtained a Fulbright Award as a Visiting Scientist at Stanford in 2015. She is also known for her contributions to teaching. In 2017, she published Fundamentals of Biomedical Optics, a complete introductory textbook on the physics of photon-tissue interactions and the design of imaging instruments exploiting these interactions. Since, she has taught in numerous summer schools (in Mexico, Ireland, and the UK) and, of course, to students at Polytechnique, which presented her with the 2022 Excellence in Teaching Award. She has trained more than 35 graduate students and postdocs—most of whom shared their work through Optica meetings or publications.

Invited speaker at several Optica meetings since 2005, she is now further contributing to the organization of the Biophotonics Congress as its Vice-Chair for 2023 and General Chair for the 2025 edition. In addition, she represents the Biomedical Optics portfolio at Optica's Board of Meetings Committee, to students in the Amplify program, and at IONS. She also discusses applications of light monthly as a regular contributor to CBC/Radio-Canada's radio show (and podcast) Moteur de Recherche, reaching Canadians (and Netizens) of all ages directly in their homes.

In 2013, with her colleague Nicolas Godbout and investors Normand Brais and Alex Cable, she founded Castor Optics, thus completing the translation of one of her patents from lab to industry. Since, in strategic partnership with Thorlabs, Castor has diversified its portfolio by licensing other patents from Polytechnique and developing its own intellectual property centered around fused fiber components such as double-clad fiber couplers, multimode circulators, and photonic lanterns—a technology which earned Castor a spot amongst the finalists at the 2023 Laser World of Photonics Innovation Award. Boudoux also serves on the Board of Directors of Institut National d'Optique (INO), a research and technology organization serving the industrial ecosystem needing optics-based solutions. These experiences strengthened her appreciation of industrial considerations and modulated how she trains the next generation of optical scientists and engineers. Her mentorship skills were recognized by Quebec's Minister of Higher Education in 2021 and by Quebec’s Order of Engineers in 2023.

Election Statement

Nine out of ten. According to the US National Science Foundation Survey of Doctorate Recipients, for every 10 Ph.D.s we train, fewer than one becomes a university professor. More than 90% of Ph.D.s, scientists and engineers find careers in industry, vastly exceeding those remaining in academia. Yet our training curricula, especially in graduate education, are mostly tailored toward the needs of academic researchers.

As a director-at-large of Optica, using my privileged vantage point as both a university professor and a tech business cofounder, I will work toward Optica becoming a leader in the innovation cycle, by building more bridges between its excellent scientific and industrial communities. At the senior level, through Optica’s Board of Meetings, we have encouraged meeting chairs to create an Industry Chair position to help design activities tailored to the needs of the industry. At the junior level, I will keep participating on panels in Optica’s Amplify and IONS programs, to shine light on different career prospects centered on optics and photonics technologies and to help identify adequate mechanisms to break the remaining silos between members of our community.

41 in 500. In 2023, 41 persons who identify as women occupy CEO positions in S&P 500 companies. For the first time, there are more women CEOs as there are men CEOs called John! In optics, as in any STEM field, not only are women, BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ persons significantly underrepresented, but the pipeline to positions of leadership—in industry, government, and academia—is seriously leaking.

Optics has such an important role to play in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges, we cannot afford to let talent fall away based on misconceptions or incomprehension. Optica has an impressive track record in creating awareness and mentorship programs for all. As a director-at-large, I will continue spreading the word (on the air and podcast of CBC/Radio-Canada, in classrooms and summer schools around the world, and through my books) and explore novel platforms, such as hybrid (and sometimes free) Optica meetings, to discuss science, technology and meaningful change with members from every corner of the globe.

50 weeks. As a rookie mom, I have benefited from Optica’s family-care grant and from Québec’s flexible parental-leave conditions. The opportunity I had for extended leave had such a profoundly positive impact on both my family and my career and yet is not available to most. I pledge to use my voice as an Optica director-at-large to promote adequate support and encourage members to both value and achieve work-life balance.


Document Created: 1 Jan 0001
Last Updated: 1 Jan 0001

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