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2019 OSA Deutsch Fellowship Progress Report,

Vicente J. Parot

After being awarded the 2019 OSA Deutsch Fellowship, on October 15 I joined the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), to conduct research at the Lab of Brett Bouma, PhD.

My work started before applying to the Deutsch Fellowship. Doing background research, writing my application proposal, and obtaining feedback to improve it, were very helpful in clarifying my research goals and projects. The Fellowship application process was clear and expedite. It would also have been helpful to obtain further research suggestions from the selection committee and whoever read my proposal. Following the selection process, I also participated in the ceremony at the OSA Frontiers in Optics meeting to receive the Fellowship award; this step was extremely rewarding as I was able to share my goals and plans with leaders in the field. To start my appointment at MGH, I completed multiple steps of onboarding and training, mainly necessary to observe safety in biomedical research, chemical hygiene, laser operation, and required to conduct research and experiments at the hospital environment.

My responsibilities as a Deutsch Fellow entail conducting research at the Wellman Center to advance optical measurement technologies with the goal to improve medical diagnostics and treatment. Additionally, I am committed to further the OSA outreach goals by sharing my research advances and my experience as an OSA 2019 Deutsch Fellow.

At the beginning of my appointment, I set out to collaborate with Bouma Lab members in two research projects. In a project aimed to develop novel contrast mechanisms for Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), I aim to modify an existing frequency-domain imaging system to probe joint tissue location pairs using multiple scattered (MS) coherent reflectance. I developed this idea before joining the Wellman Center, and crafted my Deutsch Fellowship proposal around the motivation and plan to conduct this research project. At the Wellman Center, I found support for initiating work on this project by leveraging existing instruments and software. During my first month, I designed and built a modified sample arm using free-space optics that upgrades an existing OCT frequency-domain imaging system. Over the next month, I will align and characterize this system to obtain MS-OCT data. During the next year, I will apply this modality to image phantoms and biological tissues, and investigate contrast generation mechanisms of MS-OCT and their comparison to PS-OCT.

I also joined another team at the Lab of Brett Bouma, in a project with the goal of developing multimode fiber endoscopes. One of the challenges to enable optical imaging through long (>1 m) multi-modal fibers is that they suffer from complex cross-talk between modes, and current implementations require immobility after calibration, or bulky calibrating instruments at the distal end of the fiber. I joined this team to study the problem of developing proximal calibration methods for flexible multimodal fiber endoscopes. During the last month, I developed a scalable algorithm to calculate the transmission matrix from proximal measurements using known distal calibration reflectors. Over the next year, I look forward to help translate these methods to physical implementation and advance this nascent technology that could find many applications in miniaturized endoscopy.

Besides advancing these research projects, in my work at the Wellman Center as an OSA Deutsch Fellow I have the goal of preparing for future projects and steps, with the overall motivation of continuing research in an academic environment. Professor Bouma has immediately been an invaluable supportive mentor, and his group has plenty of people who provide an excellent environment for advancing in the professional development I am interested.

I am grateful to the OSA, to Brett Bouma and Lab members, and to the Wellman Center for these opportunities; I look forward to exciting results during this year to advance biomedical optical imaging technologies.

2019 OSA President Ursula Gibson, Vicente Parot and Joseph Izatt

2019 OSA President Ursula Gibson, Vicente Parot and Joseph Izatt at the 2019 FIO + LS Awards Ceremony and Reception.

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