Optics in the Medical World

Virtual ZEISS Symposium 2021

Welcome to the ZEISS Symposium

  • What role will optical technologies play in the future of health care?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges in medical research and practice?
  • What new solutions are on the horizon?

Optical technologies have always driven innovation in medicine. By extending and complementing these with digital technologies, optical solutions can become even more relevant for targeting the increasing and complex needs of medicine and health care. Therefore, this year's ZEISS Symposium will focus on optics and medicine.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the symposium will be held online as a virtual conference. On the first day you will have the opportunity to enjoy the keynotes of our prominent speakers and celebrate with us the ZEISS Research Award winner. On the second day you will be able to participate in one of three scientific sessions. 
The participation is free of charge.


Optics in the Medical World

Summary of this year's symposium

ZEISS Symposium “Optics in the Medical World”

Date: 8-9 June 2021

Virtual Event

Why participate?

  • Learn about optics' broad role in medicine both now and in the future
  • Gain insights from leading experts (keynotes, panel discussion)
  • Discuss needs and emerging photonics solutions in medicine with peers from academia, industry and health care.
  • Expand your professional network
  • Celebrate the ZEISS Research Award winner
Keynote Speakers

Jonathan Sorger

Intuitive Surgical Inc.
How advances in visualization have contributed to intelligent (robotic) surgery

Eva Sevick-Muraca

University of Texas at Houston
Dr. Eva Sevick
Discovery in the translation of diagnostic, near-infrared fluorescence lymphatic imaging

Vasilis Ntziachristos

Helmholtz Center Munich/TU Munich
Vasilis Ntziachristos
Listening to light: label-free optoacoustic imaging of biomolecules
Invited Speakers

Luis Arnaut

University of Coimbra
Luis Arnaut, University of Coimbra Picture

Rudolf M. Verdaasdonk

University of Twente
Rudolf M. Verdaasdonk, University of Twente Picture

Paola Taroni

Politecnico di Milano
Paola Taroni, Politecnico di Milano Picture

Stephen Boppart

University of Illinois
Stephen Boppart, University of Illinois Picture

Monika Ritsch-Marte

Medical University of Innsbruck
Monika Ritsch-Marte, Medical University of Innsbruck Picture

Qingming Luo

Hainan University
Qingming Luo, Hainan University
The highlight of this symposium will be the presentation of the 2020 ZEISS Research Award and the Carl Zeiss Award for Young Researchers together with a special lecture by: Helmut Dosch, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY / University Hamburg

Symposium at a Glance


June 8, 2021

15.00 – 15.15 CET

Welcome and Introduction

15.15 – 16.15 CET

Plenary Keynotes:
Eva M. Sevick, University of Texas Health Science Center
Jonathan Sorger, Intuitive Surgical Inc.
Vasilis Ntziachristos, Helmholtz Center Munich

16.15 – 16.45 CET

Keynote Discussions

16.45 – 17.20 CET


17.30 – 18.45 CET

ZEISS Award Ceremony
Festive Speech: Helmut Dosch, DESY Hamburg

  • Carl Zeiss Award for Young Researchers
  • ZEISS Research Award
June 9, 2021

14.20 – 14.30 CET

Welcome and Introduction

14.30 – 16.30 CET

Scientific Sessions

  • Advanced Visualization and Automation in
    Surgery and Light-Based Therapies
  • Optical Image Acquisition, Sensing and
    Interpretation for Diagnostics
  • Emerging Translational Photonics Life Science
    Research Topics

16.40 – 17.30 CET

Panel Discussion & Wrap-up

Program Committee

  • Jürgen Mlynek (Chair), Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
  • Franziska Mathis-Ullrich, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
  • Katarina Svanberg, University of Lund, Sweden
  • James G. Fujimoto, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
  • Brian Pogue, Dartmouth College, United States
  • Michael Baumann, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany
  • Peter Hegemann, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany
  • Michael Kempe, ZEISS, Germany

You have the opportunity to attend one of three scientific sessions. In order to submit a contribution to one of the sessions, please register for the event.

1. Advanced Visualization and Automation in Surgery and Light-Based Therapies

This session will cover the following topics:

  • precision and minimally invasive surgery
  • automated and robot-assisted surgery
  • laser cutting, shaping, and photocoagulation
  • photo-dynamic and other localized treatments
  • visual therapeutic stimuli
  • ocular implants

2. Optical Image Acquisition, Sensing and Interpretation for Diagnostics

This session will cover the following topics:

  • optical imaging modalities (in-vivo, ex-vivo)
  • mobile / point-of-care imaging
  • optical in-vitro diagnostics
  • visual stimuli for diagnostics
  • AI for image reconstruction and interpretation

3. Emerging Translational Photonics Life Science Research Topics

This session will cover the following topics:

  • optogenetics
  • genetic analytics
  • brain functional imaging
  • photonics-supported cell-based therapies
  • liquid biopsy using light
  • optics-enabled tissue engineering and printing
  • organ-on-a-chip

What's the ZEISS Symposium about?

The ZEISS Symposium is held every two years, starting in 2016, following the same format. It is intended as a platform for optics experts to identify trends and research requirements in this field. Around 200 international scientists and leading industry representatives networked on different topics like "Optics in the Digital World" or "Optics in the Quantum World". The results are published in a series of additional white papers.

The ZEISS Research Award Ceremony will be held following the topical workshops at the ZEISS Symposium. The award will honor outstanding achievements in international research. Many of the 26 award winners have gone on to receive other important distinctions, and four of them have even won the Nobel Prize.

You are interested in previous ZEISS Symposia?

Have a look.

Optics in the Quantum World

18 April 2018

Quantum effects are in use since the 20th century and have led to market shaping innovations like semiconductor electronics and lasers. In the 21st century, quantum technology developments focus on the controlled quantum state of individual or coupled systems. While this quantum technology is still in the research stage, it offers an enormous potential and a number of initiatives worldwide have been formed to foster the technology and its commercial potential.

Optics in the Digital World

23 June 2016

Around 200 international experts discussed trends in optics and photonics at the ZEISS Symposium 'Optics in the Digital World.' The keynote speakers were Laura Waller from the University of California, Berkeley, Ingmar Posner from Oxford University and David Bohn from Microsoft. All three outlined the requirements to be met in the future by research. These are being shaped by increasing digitization and Big Data applications and are determining trends in optical technologies. These include computer-aided image processing, processing large datasets in optics, obtaining information from data, visualization for augmented and virtual reality scenarios (AR/VR) as well as computer vision and machine learning.