Skip To Content
Optica Names Brian T. Cunningham the 2023 Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award Recipient

Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is pleased to announce that Brian T. Cunningham, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award. Cunningham is recognized for innovative and transformative research in optical sensing, spectroscopy, and microscopy as well as leadership and entrepreneurship in technology development of photonic crystal biosensors.

Cunningham completed his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, and was a postdoctorate scientist at Sandia National Laboratory, USA. He is currently a faculty member in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the department Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the university following a 15-year career in industry.  

His technical focus is the utilization of photonics for biosensing in applications that include life science research, diagnostics, environmental monitoring, and pharmaceutical screening. He serves as the Director of the Center for Genomic Diagnostics at the Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, and as a Program Leader for the Cancer Center at Illinois on the topic of Cancer Measurement Technology and Data Science. 

He has over 90 issued US patents and over 195 peer-reviewed journal publications.  He is a Fellow of Optica, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, IEEE, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society of Chemistry. He has also served several additional honors, including the Everitt Award for Teaching Excellence, the George Anner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, IEEE Sensors Council Technical Achievement Award, Medical Scholars Program Outstanding Advisor Award, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Bronze Tablet.

Established in 2012, the Feld Biophotonics Award recognizes innovative and influential contributions to the field of biophotonics, regardless of career stage. The award encompasses all areas of biophotonics including fundamental optics discoveries in biology, development of new theoretical frameworks and novel instrumentation and clinical translational research for biomedicine. It honors Michael Feld for his fundamental contributions to applications of photonics technologies to solving biomedical problems, and is endowed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Hamamatsu Photonics K.K., Coherent Inc., David Feld, Ramachandra Dasari, Adam Wax, Kyungwon An, Robert Gold, Charles Holbrow, Firooz Partovi, Manoharan Ramasamy, Rebecca Richards-Kortum and Guillermo Tearney.

About Optica

Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is the society dedicated to promoting the generation, application, archiving and dissemination of knowledge in the field. Founded in 1916, it is the leading organization for scientists, engineers, business professionals, students and others interested in the science of light. Optica's renowned publications, meetings, online resources and in-person activities fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate scientific, technical and educational achievement. Discover more at:

Image for keeping the session alive