Biophotonic Engineering

This program supports the design, development, and demonstration of biophotonic technologies for biomedical intervention. 


This division supports projects developing and demonstrating new approaches to control/program biology for biomedical intervention, without preference for any particular disease or application. 

Emphasis in this program is on engineering new biophotonic materials, sensors, actuators, and other parts and modules to interface and communicate with human biology and engineered systems for biomedical intervention. These parts and modules act as biotransducers to convert photonic energy to biological action. Projects should be directed toward overcoming a technological challenge that limits biomedical adoption. This program encourages projects that use a design-build-test approach. 

Examples of biophotonic parts and modules include but are not limited to: 

  • photoactive molecular complexes for optogenetics
  • quantum dots for catalyzing cellular processes
  • plasmonic nanorods for tissue suturing
  • photocatalytic materials for nano-propulsion
  • photosensitive liposomes for tissue vascularization

Additional emphasis

Additional emphasis in this program is on the development of screening and processing tools and the discovery of design principles to design, build, and test engineered biophotonic modules. 


The development of integrated systems is supported by the Bionic and Robotic Systems program and Synthetic Biology and Biomimetic Systems program. The development of technologies for optical imaging is supported by the Optical Imaging and Spectroscopy program, and the development of optical probes for imaging is supported by the Molecular Probes and Imaging Agents program.