News Release

2024 SPIE-Franz Hillenkamp Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded to Simon Mahler

The $75,000 annual award will support Mahler’s research in non-invasive, real-time blood-flow monitoring in the human brain

Grant and Award Announcement

SPIE--International Society for Optics and Photonics

2024 SPIE-Franz Hillenkamp Postdoctoral Fellowship recipient Simon Mahler.


2024 SPIE-Franz Hillenkamp Postdoctoral Fellowship recipient Simon Mahler, working on the multi-channel helmet, which uses infrared laser speckle imaging to non-invasively monitor cerebral blood flow in the human head across several locations simultaneously.

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Credit: SPIE.

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA — SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, has announced Simon Mahler, who received his PhD in nonlinear optics from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 2021, as the winner of the 2024 SPIE-Franz Hillenkamp Postdoctoral Fellowship in Problem-Driven Biomedical Optics and Analytics. The annual award of $75,000 supports interdisciplinary problem-driven research and provides opportunities for translating new technologies into clinical practice for improving human health. Mahler will be recognized at the SPIE BiOS Hot Topics event during Photonics West, scheduled for 27 January 2024.

Mahler’s postdoctoral research — conducted in conjunction with Changhuei Yang at Caltech’s Biophotonics Lab — will focus on designing a multi-channel device, using infrared laser speckle imaging, that non-invasively monitors cerebral blood flow in the human head across several locations simultaneously. Leveraging this technology could potentially advance certain medical applications, including the diagnosis of traumatic brain injuries such as concussions. Mahler will be presenting his research at Photonics West in January.

“I am thrilled and honored to be the recipient of the prestigious SPIE-Franz Hillenkamp Fellowship,” said Mahler. “This opportunity prompts me to expand my horizons and immerse myself in a biomedical engineering research environment. I hope to gain valuable insights in the coming years, enabling me to leverage technology and potentially contribute to the advancement of medical applications, especially in the diagnosis of traumatic brain injuries.”

“On behalf of the Hillenkamp Fellowship committee, we are very pleased to join with SPIE in supporting Simon Mahler this year,” noted Committee Co-Chairs Rox Anderson and Gabriela Apiou. “His was chosen from among a highly competitive group of excellent proposals, with clearly promising potential for scientific, technological, and medical impact. That combination is at the heart of biomedical optics and photonics as a field, and we look forward to hearing more from Simon Mahler!”

Honoring the career of medical laser pioneer Franz Hillenkamp, the SPIE-Hillenkamp Fellowship is a partnership between multiple international biomedical laboratories — the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, the Beckman Laser Institute, the Manstein Lab in the Cutaneous Biology Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, Medical Laser Center Lübeck, and Boston University — and the Hillenkamp family. The endowment is funded through generous donations from the biomedical optics community, with SPIE contributing matching funds up to $1.5 million.

Applications for the 2025 SPIE-Hillenkamp Fellowship will open in the Spring of 2024.

About SPIE

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, brings engineers, scientists, students, and business professionals together to advance light-based science and technology. The Society, founded in 1955, connects and engages with our global constituency through industry-leading conferences and exhibitions; publications of conference proceedings, books, and journals in the SPIE Digital Library; and career-building opportunities. Over the past five years, SPIE has contributed more than $24 million to the international optics community through our advocacy and support, including scholarships, educational resources, travel grants, endowed gifts, and public-policy development.



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