Confocal microscopy: past, present and future

Professor Colin Sheppard


Thursday, 21 January, 2016 - 11:00


Room 2030, Level 2, Rupert Myers Building


School of Optometry and Vision Science

Type of event: 


Confocal microscopy has made a dramatic impact on biomedical imaging, in particular, but also in other areas such as industrial inspection. Confocal microscopy can image in 3D, with good resolution, into living biological cells and tissue. I have had the good fortune to be involved with the development of confocal microscopy over the last 40 years. Other techniques have been introduced that overcome some of its limitations, but still it is the preferred choice in many cases. And new developments in confocal microscopy, such as focal modulation microscopy, and image-scanning microscopy, can improve its performance in terms of penetration depth, resolution and signal level.

Speaker: Professor Colin Sheppard is Senior Scientist at the Italian Institute of Technology, in Genova, Italy. For 14 years he was a Professor of Physics at the University of Sydney, until he left to become Head of the Bioengineering Department in the National University of Singapore. He started researching on confocal microscopy when in Oxford University, back in 1974, and launched the first commercial confocal instrument in 1982.  He invented two-photon microscopy and published pioneering papers on high-resolution confocal microscopy. Especially important in his work is the modeling of light propagation including the vectorial properties of the field and ultrafast pulses.

Professor Sheppard has been the recipient of several awards, including Fellow International, Japan Society of Applied Physics (2013), Lyle Fellowship, University of Melbourne (2013); Visiting Professor, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland (2013); Fellow, Optical Society of America (2012); Carl Zeiss Visiting Professor, Germany (2011-12); Erasmus Mundus Visiting Scholar, France (2011); Visiting Professor, EPFL, Switzerland (2008); Institute of Physics UK, Optics and Photonics Division Prize (2006); Bonhöffer Medal, Max Planck Society, Germany (2006); Fellow, Institute of Physics (2004); Humboldt Research Award, Germany (2003); and Visiting Professor, TU-Delft, Netherlands (2001). Professor Sheppard has given more than 150 invited conference presentations, including 30 plenary or keynote talks. He has published two books, four edited books, 50 book chapters, more than 400 refereed journal articles, and seven patents.