In order to enable young researchers to develop innovative light-based methods for the diagnosis and therapy of cancer, Leibniz IPHT has joined forces with other high-profile research institutions, clinics, and companies from seven European countries to form a training network for doctoral students. 15 young scientists receive excellent, interdisciplinary qualification in the pioneering research field of biophotonics in the program PHAST (Photonics for Healthcare: multiscAle cancer diagnosiS and Therapy) funded by the European Commission.

The three-year Ph.D. program focuses on the development of innovative instruments and non-invasive methods for cancer diagnostics and therapy. „Our goal is to train the next generation of researchers in the field of biophotonics in close cooperation between technology development, medicine and industry,“ explain Jürgen Popp and Michael Schmitt, who play a key role in training the Ph.D. students at the Institute of Physical Chemistry at the University of Jena and the Leibniz IPHT.

„Tumors and tumor boundaries can be very difficult to detect,“ explains Orlando Guntinas-Lichius, head of the Department of Otolaryngology at Jena University Hospital (UKJ). Like Friedrich Schiller University and micro-optics specialist Grintech GmbH, UKJ is one of Jena’s partners in the PHAST network. „Optical and especially biophotonic technologies can decisively advance our diagnostic capabilities – and with them the possibilities of effectively treating these diseases.“