Colloquium: Petra Wilder-Smith

    Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm

    "Optical Diagnosis in the Oral Cavity"


    Optical diagnostics using light provide the opportunity for noninvasive early detection, diagnosis and monitoring of oral pathologies. We have investigated this approach for conditions including oral dysplasia and malignancy, periodontal disease, demineralization and decay, and root canal conditions, as well as cancer therapy-induced mucositis. Modalities used for this purpose include spectroscopy, endogenous and photosensitizer-induced tissue fluorescence, optical coherence and optical doppler tomography techniques, laser speckle techniques and various forms of nonlinear optical microscopy. Whilst our initial studies were often performed ex vivo, we have progressed to use of in vivo noninvasive technologies in animals and humans for our multimodality approach.

    An overview of clinical needs and of the specific strengths and weaknesses of each imaging approach will be presented. Data from our preclinical and clinical imaging studies in the oral cavity will be shown, and potential future developments will be presented.

    Speaker Bio(s): 

    Petra Wilder-Smith is professor and director of dentistry at the Beckman Laser Institute at the University of California, Irvine. She is a fellow of the University of California, Irvine, Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; a visiting professor at Aachen University (Germany); and a visiting lecturer at Loma Linda University. 

    Wilder-Smith obtained her dental degree with honors and distinction from Guy’s Hospital at the University of London (United Kingdom) in 1983. In 1985, she was awarded a doctorate summa cum laude from the University of Bern (Switzerland). Her first junior faculty position was at Guy’s Hospital in the department of oral medicine; she gained certification on the specialty of oral medicine during her five years as junior faculty at Heidelberg University in Germany. She was awarded the inaugural Research Prize for Endodontology by the European Society of Endodontology in 1987 for her innovative work using laser Doppler perfusion techniques for oral research. In 1988, she received Heidelberg University's Best Clinician Award, and in 1989 she received the university's Best Lecturer Award and Stauffenberg Award for innovative research. In 1999, Wilder-Smith was awarded a doctorate summa cum laude on the topic of optical diagnostics in the oral cavity from Aachen University, one of Europe's leading institutes combining optics and lasers with dentistry. She is a diplomate of the Royal College of Surgeons of Great Britain.  

    Wilder-Smith's research interests include the use of noninvasive optical techniques such as fluorescence and optical coherence tomography for oral diagnosis, especially the early detection and monitoring of precancerous and cancerous changes in the mouth. Her work in this field over the past 15 years has resulted in many collaborations and more than 100 publications. She serves on many advisory boards, including the board of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, the board of the Diagnostic Sciences Group of the International Association for Dental Research and the medical advisory board for the Prevent Cancer Foundation (formerly the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation), as well as the editorial boards of the Journal of Photomedicine and Laser Surgery and the Lasers in Surgery and Medicine journal.