Arjen Amelink new endowed professor in Physics

The Executive Board of the VU has decided to appoint Arjen Amelink, from TNO, from 1 October 2019 as endowed professor of ‘Light-tissue interactions and spectroscopy in the sub-diffuse domain’.

09/27/2019 | 12:57 PM

The chair is embedded in the Physics department. The appointment is for a period of five years, for 0.2 fte. The chair is about the use of light for medical applications. Research organization TNO aims to connect the societal need for medical innovations of patients and doctors to the technological knowledge of universities, research institutions and companies.

The focus of Amelink's research is the development and clinical validation of new optical diagnostic methods. The chair focuses on the interpretation of data generated by optical measurement systems based on the modelling of light transport in biological tissue. A good understanding of how light behaves in biological tissues makes it possible to convert measured optical signals into physical parameters that are of diagnostic value.

Research into the eye
Central to the research is the eye. Amelink: “You can beautifully see blood vessels running in the retina of an eye; the retina is also in direct connection with the brain. By shining light on the retina in different ways and with different colours and measuring the reflected light, we try to look in detail at blood vessels and nerve cells in a non-invasive way. In this way we can not only detect eye diseases earlier, but also investigate whether we can detect cardiovascular and neurological disorders at an earlier stage.”

Amelink's research is of great societal importance. “The need for more, better and affordable medical care is great and is increasing rapidly due to the aging population. In the future, therefore, there will be more and more emphasis on staying healthy, prevention and early diagnosis. We try to use light to diagnose diseases earlier and better in a harmless and cheap way based on the unique ‘optical fingerprint’ of disease processes. As a result, treatments could be started earlier and more effectively, with better outcomes at lower costs.”