Professor David Sampson

Section 1. Professor David Sampson

DavidFellow IEEE, Fellow OSA, Fellow SPIE

+61 8 6488 7112

1) The University of Western Australia

Head, Optical+Biomedical Engineering Laboratory
Professor, School of Electrical, Electronic & Computer Engineering
Bioengineering Research Theme Leader, Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics
Director, Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation & Analysis (CMCA) CMCA Profile
Director, Western Australian Centre for Microscopy
Director, WA node of the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility
Director, WA node of the National Imaging Facility

Section 2. Profile

Professor Sampson is Director of the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation & Analysis (CMCA), a core infrastructure facility of the University of Western Australia, and heads the Optical+Biomedical Engineering Laboratory (OBEL) in the School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering. As CMCA Director, he directs the Western Australian nodes of the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility and the National Imaging Facility and leads the Western Australian Centre for Microscopy, a consortium of the four publicly funded universities in Western Australia.

Prof. Sampson has over twenty-five years research experience in the fields of optics, photonics, and microscopy, and applications in communications, sensors, and biomedicine. More on his research profile can be found at the bottom of this page.

Prof. Sampson has attracted research funding in excess of $41.93M. He has published more than 145 journal articles attracting over 2,600 citations, as indexed in the Web of Science (Thomson ISI Researcher ID B-2931-2011), with an h-index of 29 (Google Scholar: 4,220 citations, h-index 39). He has been a plenary or invited speaker at more than 80 conferences and given more than 80 unpublished talks. [Aug 2015]

He is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Biomedical Optics, Photonic Sensors and Photonics & Lasers in Medicine. He is Guest Editor of the Special Section on Optical Elastography and Tissue Biomechanics, in the December 2013 issue of the Journal of Biomedical Optics. He was Guest Editor of the Special Issue of Measurement Science and Technology, March 2009. He was a founding Associate Editor of IEEE Photonics Journal from 2009 to 2014, Topical Editor, Applied Optics – Lasers, Photonics and Environmental Optics from 1999 to 2005. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Australian Optical Society News and

He was an elected councillor of the Australian Optical Society (2008-2012). He chairs the Australian Microscopy & Microanalysis Research Facility’s International Technical & User Advisory Group. He is one of two Australian node directors of the international network Biophotonics4Life. He was a member of the Australian Research Council’s Excellence in Research for Australia 2010 Research Evaluation Committees.

He has been involved in the running of more than 50 conferences. Highlights include representing the Asia Pacific for the Optical Fiber Communications conference (1996-1998), serving as Technical Programme Chair for the Asia Pacific Communications conference (1997), co-chairing Focus on Microscopy (2006), and chairing the International Conference on Optical Fiber Sensors in 2008, and co-chairing it in 2012, chairing the Australian and New Zealand Conference on Optics and Photonics in 2013, co-chairing Optical Elastography and Tissue Biomechanics at Photonics West/BiOS 2014-2016, and chairing the Cancer Imaging and Therapy conference at the OSA BIOMED 2016 congress in Florida.


1) Academic Qualifications

1992 Doctor of Philosophy (Physics), University of Kent, United Kingdom

1981 Bachelor of Science (Chemical Physics) with First Class Honours, University of Western Australia

2) Relevant Employment History

2008 – 2012 Director, Nanoscale Characterisation (WA) State Government Centre of Excellence
2007 – 2012 Director, University of Western Australia Bioimaging Initiative
2007 – 2012 Director, Centre for eMedicine, State Government Centre of Excellence
2005 – 2008 Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Engineering Computing & Mathematics
1996 – 2002 Associate Professor, Dept. of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University of Western Australia
1996 – 1996 Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University of Western Australia
1995 – 1996 Deputy Director, Photonics Research Laboratory, Australian Photonics Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne, Australia
1993 – 1996 Senior Research Fellow, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University of Melbourne, Australia
1989 – 1993 Research Fellow, Lecturer, Physics Laboratory, University of Kent, United Kingdom
1987 – 1988 Development Physicist, Australian Optical Fibre Research Pty. Ltd., Australia
1985 – 1986 Research Officer, Physics Department, University of Western Australia
1982 – 1984 Senior Field Engineer, Schlumberger Offshore Ltd., The Netherlands and Italy

3) Honours and Awards

2016 Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for contributions to fibre-optic biophotonics and biomedical optical imaging

2015 Co-winner of the The Australian/Shell Innovation Challenge for the Microscope-in-a-Needle (Health category and overall winner)

2015 Nominated in Western Australia for the 2016 Australian of the Year Awards

2015 University of Western Australia Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Award

2014 Professor Sampson’s group OBEL was the winner of the 2014 University of Western Australia Vice Chancellor’s Award in Impact and Innovation for the Microscope-in-a-Needle

2014 Joint winner, Western Australian Innovator of the Year Award (Emerging Category) for the early-stage commercialization of the Microscope-in-a-Needle, Department of Commerce, Government of Western Australia

2014 Finalist, Western Australian Scientist of the Year, Premier’s Science Awards, Government of Western Australia

2013 Finalist, Australian Museum Eureka Awards, Innovative Use of Technology category

2013 OSA Travelling Lecturer Award, Wrocław OSA student chapter, International OSA Network of Students-14, Torun, Poland

2013 IEEE Photonics Society Distinguished Lecturer, 1 July 2013 – 30 June 2014

2013 Abbe School of Photonics Visiting Professor, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany, for the period May-July 2013

2013 Fellow Member, SPIE – The International Optics and Photonics Society

2013 Fellow Member, The Optical Society (OSA)

2012 Finalist in the Australian Museum Eureka Awards, Innovative Use of Technology category

2012 OSA Travelling Lecturer award, Saratov Fall Meeting, Saratov, Russia

2010 OSA Travelling Lecturer award, OPTO Meeting For Young Researchers, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland

2008 Elected councillor of the Australian Optical Society for two terms 2008-2012

2003 Visiting Professor, Department of Physics, University of Florence and the European Laboratory for Nonlinear Spectroscopy

1999 Japanese Government Centre of Excellence Fellowships, in April and October 1999

4) Research Profile

Professor Sampson’s areas of research specialisation before 2011 are summarized in a review article published in 2011 as part of a Special Issue celebrating the achievements of Professor David Jackson, his thesis advisor (see D. D. Sampson, “Staying coherent after Kent: From optical communications to biomedical optics”, Photonic Sensors 1(4), 323-350, 2011) available at Publications. His doctoral and early post-doctoral research (1989-1997) centred on optical communications and microwave photonics.

Photonics code-division multiple access communications: Professor Sampson and collaborators invented several schemes based on low-coherence and broadband light to perform all-optical code-division multiple access communications. Their practical demonstrations in the mid 1990’s achieved the highest capacity and user numbers reported at that time. He and his colleagues went on to demonstrate the fundamental limits of the optical version of this widely used communications technique. He published 16 papers in the period 1990-2000 on this topic.

Broadband wavelength-division multiplexing: In the period 1994-1997, he and his collaborators made contributions to wavelength-division multiplexing transmission and networking, through studies of schemes based on spectrally slicing broadband light. His early demonstration of the modification of the gain spectrum of an optical amplifier through cascaded sections of differently doped fibers predated an explosion of work on gain flattening in optical amplifiers. He published nine papers on these topics.

Since 1998, his research interests have been in biomedical optics, biophotonics and optical microscopy.

Anatomical optical coherence tomography (OCT): Professor Sampson and his collaborators pioneered the development of anatomical OCT, a method for quantifying hollow organ internal anatomy dynamically, now being pursued worldwide. He has published 20 papers from 2003 to the present on studies in the human upper and lower airway directed towards sleep apnea, stenosis, tracheomalacia, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. These studies have been regularly cited in reviews of respiratory medicine and have featured in two issue editorials and on two journal covers, including the 2011 cover of the top journal in respiratory medicine American J Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine (IF 11.08).

OCT microscope-in-a-needle: Since 2007, Professor Sampson has led the development of a ‘microscope-in-a-needle’ 3D medical imaging platform technology. The first application is the assessment of tumor margin status in breast cancer during surgery and his group has demonstrated feasibility on freshly excised human tissue specimens. Used during surgery, this needle probe has the potential to assess an area of tissue for malignancy immediately before the surgeon removes it and, thus, ensure more successful removal of breast cancer than is currently achieved. Innovations include recent firsts (2011-2012): 3D OCT images recorded with a needle; demonstration of an innovative new path to studying lung alveolar architecture and dynamics; a needle technology with even higher resolution than OCT – a confocal microscope-in-a-needle with the best reported performance for its size; the smallest reported OCT imaging needle (Top Ten Downloads, Optics Letters, June 2012); 3D needle OCT images of human lymph nodes and breast cancer tumor margins; the surgical guidance of OCT needles using ultrasound (Am J Roentgenology, October 2012); and modification of the optics on the needle tip to extend its ability to focus over a larger depth range (Featured in OSA’s Spotlight on Optics, Aug. 2012). Several of these achievements were featured in OSA’s ‘Optics in 2012’, an annual issue of its magazine Optics & Photonics News featuring 25 or so of the most important developments in the fields of Optics and Photonics, including featuring in a video.

OCT elastography: Since 2009, he and OBEL colleagues have published more than ten papers on probing the elastic properties of tissue with OCT (SPIE Newsroom Jan 2013). His group has demonstrated the first in vivo images using dynamic elastography and the first needle elastography (patent pending and Kennedy et al., Optics Letters, 2012).

Holographic microscopy: Professor Sampson has made contributions on the use of Fourier holography in two methods for microstructure characterization: synthetic aperture wide-field microscopy and macroscopic angular scattering spectroscopy. These contributions are detailed in a sequence of seven papers in the period 2005-2010. Highlights include featuring on the front cover of Optics Express in 2006, and selection for OSA’s ‘Optics in 2007’, an annual issue of its magazine Optics & Photonics News featuring 25 or so of the most important developments in the fields of Optics and Photonics.