Research Pioneer to Discuss Optic, Nanotechnology Tools to Treat Cancer

February 24, 2020 | Events, News, UToday, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
By Staff

Dr. Brian C. Wilson, an expert in the field of photo-diagnostic research and photodynamic therapy for cancer, will visit The University of Toledo this week to talk about his work.

He will deliver the Physics and Astronomy Department Colloquium Thursday, Feb. 27, at 4 p.m. in McMaster Hall Room 1005. The title of his talk is “Translational (Nano) Biophotonics for Cancer Applications: Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Biology.”


Wilson is internationally known for his research on optical tools that can be used for minimally invasive cancer treatment and early diagnosis. With support from the Canadian Cancer Society, he started a program in translational research and clinical trials of photodynamic therapy — the use of light-activated drugs — for brain, prostate and gastrointestinal cancers.

The professor of medical biophysics at the University of Toronto played a pivotal role in the development of fluorescence and other endoscopic imaging techniques, as well as pioneered optical imaging to guide surgery for head, neck, prostate and brain cancer.

Moreover, Wilson also has expanded his work to include the development of nanotechnologies in cancer treatment, diagnosis and research.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Wilson to campus,” Dr. Aniruddha Ray, UToledo assistant professor of physics, said. “He is a world-renowned medical researcher and a pioneer in light mediate cancer diagnostics and therapy. His presentation will be of interest to those working and studying in the interdisciplinary areas of physics, biology, chemistry, medicine, bioengineering, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering.”

Wilson, who is also a senior scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, will explain how the application of optics in life sciences and medicine — with or without the complementary use of nanotechnologies — requires integrating physics, biomedical engineering, chemistry, biology and medicine.

He will illustrate this by highlighting four research and development projects focused on addressing unmet clinical needs in oncology: quantitative fluorescence spectroscopy and imaging to guide cancer surgery; multifunctional nanoparticles for image-guided phototherapies; non-linear optical microscopy for cancer pathology; and the use of optically active nanoparticle-linked photosensitizer molecules activated directly or indirectly by X-rays.

“Dr. Wilson will walk us through the journey from technology development to application on cancer patients,” Ray said.

Wilson is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and the International Society for Optics and Photonics, and he has received numerous national and international awards, including the Canadian Cancer Society’s prestigious Robert Noble Prize.

For more information on the free, public colloquium, contact Ray at

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