Best Paper Award at the SPIE Photonics West to Alba Alfonso Garcia

Alba won the Best Paper Award with the paper "Assessing in vivo label-free fluorescence lifetime Imaging sensitivity to low-grade colon inflammation”.

This study assesses the sensitivity of label-free fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIm) for detecting low-grade gastrointestinal inflammation in mice. A FLIm probe was developed for in vivo colon imaging, enabling complete colon scanning. Using the probe, low-grade inflammation induced by streptomycin was imaged, showing decreased fluorescence lifetime at wavelengths related to metabolic activity, indicating a shift to glycolytic metabolism in inflamed tissue. The potential of validating FLIm maps with spatial transcriptomics was explored. These methodologies provide a basis for further experimentation to establish FLIm as a tool to quantify colon epithelial metabolism over time and its relevance to monitor colorectal inflammatory disease.


Alba’s background is in optical physics and biophotonics imaging technologies. During her training, Alba developed protocols to study lipid-related diseases with label-free nonlinear microscopy techniques such as coherent Raman scattering and two-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy. With the aim of bridging the gap between the development of imaging technologies and biomedical applications, her research now focuses on the clinical translation of label-free fluorescence lifetime imaging for neurosurgery and gastrointestinal disease management.