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Thomas Foster

Thomas Foster

  • Professor of Imaging Sciences
  • Professor of Optics
  • Professor of Physics

PhD, University of Rochester, 1990

3-5333 Medical Center
(585) 275-1347
Fax: (585) 273-1033


Short Biography

Professor Foster received his BS in physics from Stevens Institute of Technology (1983). Following two years at the General Electric Research and Development Center, he came to the University of Rochester where he received the PhD in physics (1990). He joined the faculty at the University as an assistant professor of Radiology in 1990. He was promoted to associate professor in 1994 and is currently professor of imaging sciences (formerly radiology), of physics, of optics, and of oncology. From 2001 - 2008, Professor Foster was an associate editor of the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology and from 2004 - 2008 served as a member of the National Institutes of Health Radiation Therapeutics and Biology Study Section. He was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2001.

Research Overview

Professor Foster’s group investigates a wide range of topics in biomedical optics. Preclinical and clinical problems in photodynamic therapy (PDT) are an important emphasis. PDT is a relatively new cancer intervention that has received limited regulatory agency approval in the US and several other countries. It makes use of tumor seeking compounds which, when irradiated with visible or near infrared light, initiate photochemical reactions that destroy tumors through a combination of direct and indirect mechanisms. His group has designed and built instrumentation that integrates the delivery of the PDT treatment light with reflectance and fluorescence spectroscopic evaluation of tumor response to therapy. One such system is already in clinical trials in skin cancer patients. Other current projects include studies of light scattering from intact cells, fluorescence imaging of gene expression and of immune cell infiltration in tumors in vivo, optical property measurements of human cancer, and detailed mathematical modeling of photodynamic therapy dosimetry.