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Fran J. Ávila


Research Fellow
Centro de Investigación en Óptica y Nanofísica, Edif. CIOyN
Campus de Espinardo 30100 – Murcia (Spain)

PhD, Visual Sciencies (2015)
MSc, Visual Sciences  (2011)
BSc, Optics and Optometry (2010)

During my PhD student period, I worked for one year as Visiting Researcher  in the department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo, Canada. My research was focused on polarimetry, this technique was applied to retinal tissues affected by Alzheimer disease. The polarization properties showed by the affected tissues were used as a label-free biomarker of the disease. Our method based on Mueller matrix polarimetry was proposed as an alternative technique of diagnosis of Alzheimer disease through the human eye, using its potential as a window to the brain. After I joining to the Lo·Um, we extended the analyses of the retinal tissues with multiphoton microscopy providing a non-invasive method to visualize the amyloid plaques formed by the disease in the human retina, taking into account the intrinsic non-linear fluorescent signal provided by the retina. These studied were recognized  in 2014 with the “SPIE best student paper award” at the ICO congress. Also in 2015, as “outstanding contribution of a young researcher to the XI RNO” at the National Meeting of Optics in Spain.
On the other hand, my PhD thesis was focused on second harmonic generation in collagen, in particular I analyzed the polarization dependence of the second harmonic signal to characterize the organization of collagen structure in ocular tissues. The analysis of the polarized second harmonic signal was proposed as a technique to differenciate pathological corneas from healthy ones. Also, the polarimetry was applied to analyze both internal and external organization and collagen and to improve the visualization in such structures.

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