Published on 27 Jun 2023

Biophotonics: Light up Medical Technology Innovation by Dr Bi Renzhe

IAS STEM Graduate Colloquium Jointly Organised with the Graduate Students' Clubs

On 23 June 2023, the Graduate Students’ Club of EEE and CCEB, in conjunction with the IAS NTU, conducted an enlightening STEM Graduate Colloquium, featuring the acclaimed Dr Bi Renzhe from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), A*STAR. The colloquium, appropriately titled "Biophotonics: Light up Medical Technology Innovation," was a captivating blend of scientific ingenuity and warm humour, much like its speaker. 

The seminar began on a note of humility and humour, as Dr Bi shared his 2022 Young Scientist Award journey. He laughingly speculated that his patents, especially those transformed into real-world medical applications, were likely contributors to this prestigious accolade.

Having set the tone for the seminar, Dr Bi steered the audience through several critical components of his research. He first delved into the abstracts of biophotonics, explaining complex topics such as photoacoustic imaging, diffuse optics, and Raman spectroscopy. To bring these intricate subjects to life, he punctuated his talk with video examples, much to the audience's delight.

Next, Dr Bi explored the pivotal role of clinical translational research in biophotonics technologies. Highlighting the importance of transferring laboratory findings to practical applications, he emphasised the necessity of considering variables like size, power consumption, and dimensions in the design of medical devices.

Dr Bi then shifted focus to discuss the business aspects of biophotonics technologies. He detailed the process of commercialisation, discussing the responsibilities of patent inventors and owners, and the complexities of patent licensing and transfers.

The seminar took a personal turn as Dr Bi woved in his career journey, discussing the career prospects for PhD graduates and the often challenging decision between pursuing a career in research or industry. He openly shared his own struggles and eventual choices, providing invaluable insights into the possible outcomes of each path.

As a fitting close to the seminar, Dr Bi shared a segment he labelled 'Personal Sharing'. He reflected on his journey, his achievements, and the factors that led him to where he stands today. He also shared his belief on the key ingredients of success, inspiring future young scientists.

To date, his accomplishments include 36 scientific publications, 4 granted patents, and 11 patent applications, with three of his patents assigned or licensed to Singapore-based MedTech companies. His inventions have positively impacted the medical field, aiding surgeons, hospitals, and dermatologists alike, testifying to his profound contributions to MedTech innovation.

The seminar concluded with an animated Q&A session, where Dr Bi responded to numerous inquiries related to his field. 

Written by Lu Xinpei (EEE GSC) and Sun Ruoxuan (CCEB GSC) 

"Interesting insights, sparked a new interest for me" - Sean Ng (Undergraduate, CCEB)

“The sharing of PhD lifestyle tips from Dr Bi's personal experience was good “ - Sim Hean Zhor (Undergraduate, SBS)

"Dr Bi is a very genuine and humble person, and this really reflected in the presentation." - Dr Gayathri (Research Fellow, MAE)