ESR Team

The innovative training network FBI fosters education of Early Stage Researchers (ESR) on an emerging, multimodal imaging platform and its translation into clinical and biological applications. In FBI, the following 15 PhD students are trained at world-leading European academic institutions and companies, thus forming strong interdisciplinary relations between industry, technical sciences and clinical end-users.

ESR 1: Oyewole Benjamin Efunbajo, Doctoral Candidate at NKT Photonics, Denmark


Benjamin completed a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Gaziantep, Turkey, where he worked mainly on radiation-based treatment devices and phantom calibration for these appliances. He went on to pursue and complete a Master’s degree at the National Nanotechnology Center (UNAM), Bilkent University, Turkey. During his Master’s program he worked on the development, and characterization of high power fiber resonators and amplifiers operating in the near infra-red. He also worked on developing laser systems for tandem pumping. For his Master’s thesis, he developed an ytterbium-doped resonator operating at 1018 nm pumped with a temperature-tuned source.
Currently, Benjamin is working on developing a high pulse energy supercontinuum source for multispectral optoacoustic tomography at NKT Photonics Denmark.


ESR 2: Rastko Pajković, Doctoral Candidate at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

Rastko obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computation with focus on Physical Electronics from the University of Belgrade. He continued his studies at the Aix-Marseille University and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology as a part of Erasmus Mundus EuroPhotonics Master program. During his Master’s thesis in the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Electronics (IPQ) he focused on 3D printed optical waveguides for coupling heterogeneous photonic integrated circuits and transmitter packaging. After two months of working as a research assistant at IPQ he joined the FBI to investigate the prospects of an integrated laser system for swept-source optical coherence tomography.


ESR 3: Muhammad Tahir Jamal, Doctoral Candidate at the Technical University of Denmark

Tahir received his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Sciences specializing in Lasers and Optoelectronics at the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology, Pakistan. To sate his curiosities in the field of photonics, he pursued the Master’s degree in Photonics at the Institute of Photonics associated with University of Eastern Finland. He did his master’s thesis at the Inter-institute Micro-electronic Centre (imec), Belgium on the topic of Strain characterization inside advanced-nanoelectronics device structures by using enhanced Raman spectroscopy methods. Currently, he is working as a PhD student at the Technical University of Denmark on the development of high power green pump lasers for Ti:Sapphire lasers by exploring a number of different approaches based on nonlinear frequency conversion of high power tapered laser diodes.

ESR 4: Jeremias Püls , PhD student at  Medical University Vienna

Jeremias received his Bachelor’s degree in technical Physics in 2014 from Vienna University of Technology. He finished his master in 2016 in Physics, Photonics at Lund University, Sweden, where he carried out his master’s project at the Division of Combustion Physics, working on imaging within scattering media using a technique called two-photon excitation. Two-photon excitation could potentially improve the visibility in turbid media since it creates only a signal where the photon density is sufficiently high, i.e. where the light is focused. After the master project, Jeremias continued his work as research assistant until 31.03.2017, where is main duty was to program, via Matlab and LabView, serval scientific cameras and traverse system in order to apply a novel imaging technique based on Structured Illumination.
At the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at the Medical University of Vienna, Jeremias is currently developing a multimodal platform microscope capable of stimulated Raman scattering (SRS), optical coherence tomography (OCT), coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy (CARS), two-photon excitation fluorescence (TPEF) and second-harmonic generation (SHG). Jeremias main focus lies on the development of the SRS imaging modality for drug trafficking.


ESR 5: Zak Ali, Doctoral Candidate at the Technical University of Munich

Zak Ali completed his Bachelor’s degree specializing in the field of Optoelectronics at the University of Auckland, NZ. Following undergraduate study, he worked as a medical devices engineer at Fisher and Paykel Healthcare Ltd, NZ focusing in the respiratory humidification sector. Having gained 3 years of work experience, he decided to return to academia by commencing the Integrated Photonic and Electronic System Masters program at the University of Cambridge, UK. Subsequently, he finished a mini-project characterizing bio-optical detectors at University College London, UK. He is currently working towards the development of a multi modal biophotonic imaging endoscope for early disease detection of esophageal cancer at the Technical University of Munich and Helmholtz Zentrum Munich.

ESR 6: Antonia Longo, Doctoral Candidate at iThera Medical, Munich

Antonia Longo received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Pisa, Italy. For her Bachelor’s thesis, she worked on the characterization of ECG textile electrodes for wearable systems in collaboration with the bioengineering and robotics research center ‘’Centro E.Piaggio’’ in Pisa, Italy. During her Master’s program she worked on quantitative methods for bone healing assessment. The aim of the study was to prove the feasibility and reliability of the mechanical vibration method to assess bone healing in fractures treated with external fixation. Shortly afterwards, thanks to her Master’s thesis and her ongoing interest in that field of research, she gained a position as Research Assistant in the Wearable Biorobotics group at Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, UK. During this experience, she focused on the design and development of a first prototype for quantitative ultrasound assessment of bone fracture healing. She is currently working as PhD student in iThera Medical on Image improvement in MSOT and its clinical translation.

ESR 7: Parastoo Afshari, Doctoral Candidate at the Technical University of Munich

Parastoo received her Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran). For her Bachelor’s thesis she worked on zero-cost diagnostics and tools for global health. As a result, she developed a method for blood-typing using nitrocellulose which provides more simple, sensitive and trustworthy assay for rapid blood typing in situations with no access to laboratory facilities (Biomedical Chromatography, Vol. 31, Issue 7, 2017).

Afterwards, due to her interest in fluid mechanics she continued her studies toward master degree by working on analysis of nozzle design parameters to optimize micro-jet specification for dermal applications. This experience led her to design the skin-peeling device using two-Phase Liquid-Gas Jet which is patented in Iran Intellectual property office-2016.

After gaining these experiences in two different fields, she pursued her main interest in diagnosis field which can improve the global health. Currently as a PhD student, she is gaining knowledge and experience in developing of Cellular resolution hybrid fluorescence optoacoustic endoscope for early detection of esophageal cancer at the Technical University of Munich and Helmholtz Zentrum Munich.

ESR 8: Fabian Placzek, Doctoral Candidate at the Medical University of Vienna


Fabian received his Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the Leibniz University of Hannover. He developed a three-dimensional focus adjusting imaging device with micromechanical scanners and a fluid lens for optical coherence tomography, at the Biomedical Optics department of the Laser Center Hannover. Subsequently, he worked at the Department of Aerodynamics and Aeroacoustics Development at the Audi AG in Ingolstadt. There, he established a process-related knowledge-preserving system for the aerodynamic- and aeroacoustics-developers. Finishing the internship, he finished his Master’s degree at the Leibniz University of Hannover at the Institute of Quantum Optics. He worked in the Ultrafast Laser Optics group, developing a carrier-envelop phase stabilization of a high-power thin disk oscillator.
Currently, Fabian is working on multi-modal endoscope development for early-stage bladder cancer detection at the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at the Medical University of Vienna.


ESR 9: Björn-Ole Meyer, Doctoral Candidate at the Technical University of Denmark

Björn received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Electical Engineering at the Kiel University in Germany. Within the scope of his Bachelor’s thesis he developed an optical imaging measurement system for a photonic crystal slab biosensor and thereafter specialized further in optics and biomedical engineering. For his Master’s thesis he designed a miniaturized optical measurement device for imaging detection in live cell assays and developed an improved prototype in a subsequent employment as a research assistant. Björn has worked as a laser engineer in new product introduction at Coherent LaserSystems GmbH in Lübeck before joining the FBI.

Within FBI, Björn is working as a PhD student at the Technical University of Denmark on the identification of biomarkers for the early-stage diagnosis of cancerous lesions in bladder tissue. In order to achieve this, he is combining two imaging modalities, namely Two-Photon Excited Fluorescence Microscopy and Optical Coherence Microscopy into a common platform.

ESR 10: Mikael T. Erkkilä, Doctoral Candidate at the Medical University of Vienna


Mikael studied physics with special emphasis on medical imaging and optical metrology. He received his Bachelor degree from the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena and completed the Master degree at the Technical University of Dresden. In his bachelor thesis he designed and validated a laser scanning super-resolution microscopy system based on fluorescence image-inversion interferometry at high numerical apertures. This project was a joint cooperation between the institute of applied optics and the Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH, in which he had worked for two years as a trainee. In Dresden, he joined the research group of Prof. Edmund Koch at the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus for his master thesis and worked on an endoscopic optical coherence imaging platform for both, anatomical and functional, imaging of the human tympanic membrane.

Since 2016 he is an Early Stage Researcher at the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at the Medical University of Vienna. In cooperation with the Carl Zeiss Meditec AG in Oberkochen, he develops an augmented surgical microscope which enables the use of additional imaging modalities like optical coherence tomography or fluorescence detection in real time. This research aims to improve the delineation of tumor margins during gross total resections in modern neurosurgery.


ESR 11: Roger Fonollà Navarro, Doctoral Candidate at  Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

Roger holds a Bachelor’s degree in Audiovisual System’s Engineering from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona). For his bachelor’s thesis he collaborated with Computational Imaging & Simulation Technologies in Biomedicine (CISTIB) and worked in his project in the field of Manifold Learning to better understand the hearth rhythm using Free Hand Ultrasound. Later on he successfully completed an Internship in Philips Research (Eindhoven) in the field of Mathematics applied in Health Sciences. With the acquired knowledge in 2016 he obtained a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Universitat of Barcelona and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. While pursuing the Master’s Degree, Roger did work for 3 years at Galgo Medical developing a new platform for improvement of osteoporosis and risk of bone fracture. Since 2017 he is employed in the Technological University of Eindhoven working with the most advanced Machine Learning and Deep Learning techniques to improve detection, classification and segmentation of gastrointestinal related cancer diseases.

ESR 12: Marco Lai, Doctoral Candidate at Philips Research, Eindhoven

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Marco received his Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Facoltà di Ingegneria e Architettura at the university of Cagliari. For his Bachelor’s thesis he collaborated at the development of a wearable device for automatic sleep apnoea events detection. Afterwards, he continued his studies in Biomedical Engineering at the Polytechnic of Milan, in the more specific field of biomedical sensors and imaging techniques. He completed his internship for his Master’s Thesis project at the Philips Research in Eindhoven, working on photoplethysmography (PPG) Imaging, a novel technique that allows monitoring skin perfusion level changes. In 2017, after obtaining his Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering, he decided to stay at the Philips Research in Eindhoven, where he is currently working on augmented reality and image-fusion on endoscopic devices, developing a multi-modal endoscopic image system aimed to improve and facilitate minimally invasive neurosurgical procedures.


ESR 13: Pierre-Marc Dansette, Doctoral Candidate at EKSPLA, Lithuania

Pierre-Marc received his engineer degree from Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures. He also received a master degree in nanotechnologies from Université Paris Sud. At the Langevin Institute in Paris he developed a novel technique for medical imaging of electric currents in the heart, using ultrasounds. This technique would be the first to provide direct imaging of biological currents, thus helping to diagnose conditions such as arrhythmia and locate the problem in view of surgery. Ultimately it could be use to image brain activity.

Currently Pierre-Marc is working as a PhD student in EKSPLA, in Vilnius, developing a new ultrashort laser. This new laser should be used as a light source for Multiphon microscopes such as the one at EPFL. These microscopes can reveal specific structures in tissues, such as collagen fibers or microtubules in neurons, without the need of markers. The laser source is a key factor for the resolution and sensitivity of this technique.


ESR 14: Maksim Eremchev, Doctoral Candidate at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Maksim received his Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics and Physics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT). For his bachelor’s thesis, he joined Prof. Andrei Naumov’s research group “Single Molecule SpectroMicroscopy (SMSM) at Institute for Spectroscopy of Russian Academy of Sciences (ISAN) and worked on super-resolved fluorescence microscopy and atomic force microscopy of single core/shell semiconductor quantum dots.
After graduation, he continued his work in SMSM group to prepare his master’s thesis and at the same time he got admitted to the double-degree master’s program between MIPT and Skolkovo Institute for Science and Technology (Skoltech), where he fulfilled the credit program in photonics and quantum materials. As a part of his master’s program, he spent 2 months on a summer internship at Superconducting Nanotechnology (Scontel) company under Prof. Gregory Goltsman’s supervision working on on-chip single photon emitter based on NV centres in nanodiamonds. One of the most outstanding experience in his studies was participation in the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings in Germany, which influenced his decision to do a PhD project in an international research group.

In 2017, as a part of the FBI project, Maksim joined Sylvie Roke’s research group for fundamental BioPhotonics at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, where he is studying label-free aqueous interfaces of model lipid bilayer membranes with second harmonic generation microscopy. This research aims at bringing the molecular level understanding of membrane processes involving water at the interface, such as ion interactions, membrane (interleaflet) structuring and dynamics, membrane fusion, proteins/channels operation.

ESR 15: Igor Nahalka, Doctoral Candidate at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Igor received his Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the Czech Technical University in Prague. He was developing a lithographic device based on a spatial light modulator with the goal to enhance the resolution and edges of fabricated structures. As a continuation, in the first year of Master studies at the department of Optics and Nanotechnology he focused on optimizing the etching procedure of the photoresist material. Afterwards, he studied one year in the Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, as an exchange student. Coming back to Prague he shifted his research to hydrothermal fabrication of ZnO nanostructures. At the Institute of Photonics and Electronics he developed a micro-reactor chamber device based on gradient flow with a controllable fabrication of nanostructure’s proportions. Main advantage of this technique is a low cost and easy maintenance. With this project as a Master thesis he finished his Master studies at the department of Optics and Nanotechnology.

Currently, Igor is working as a PhD student at the Laboratory for Fundamental Biophotonics at EPFL University in Lausanne. Here, he is developing a 3D multiphoton microscope for studying aqueous interfaces and structure of materials.