MedTech Frontiers


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A Monthly Event Hosted by Triple Ring Technologies

MedTech Frontiers is a continuing series of free events for medical device and life science investors, entrepreneurs, and technologists. Please join us for evenings of food, conversation, and presentations by Silicon Valley luminaries held on the first Thursday of each month.

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MedTech Frontiers
Optically Guided Surgery

Date:  Thursday, May 7, 2015

Time:  6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Triple Ring Technologies,
39655 Eureka Dr. Newark CA

Speaker: John Black, PhD

Cost: The seminar is free of charge, but advance registration is required

On-Site registration:  A limited number of on-site registrations may be available

About the Seminar: 

The introduction of the laser as a therapeutic surgical tool in the 1960s has had profound effects on certain fields of medicine, particularly in ophthalmology and minimally invasive surgical disciplines such as lithotripsy in urology. On the diagnostics side, while white-light video imaging laparoscopy and endoscopy have revolutionized many surgical disciplines, the use of real-time diagnostic and surgical guidance tools exploiting the many other advantageous features of optics have just recently started to blossom as many of the advances in electronics, computing and optical telecommunications of the last two decades make their way into the biophotonics field. The enabling features of optical radiation for surgical guidance include the ability to use fiber-optics with outer diameters as small as 50 microns as conduits for information, the extremely high intrinsic bandwidths and signal-to-noise of optical systems, insensitivity to ambient thermal and electromagnetic perturbations, and the possibility of using the spectral and coherence properties of laser light to yield simultaneously both functional (molecular level) and structural (tissue organization) information. John will present a tour of how optical techniques available today can be used to sense temperature and force, and show how the optical analog of ultrasound, Optical Coherence Tomography, is being used to equip surgical instruments with the ability to allow the physician to image the tissues they are interacting with, and to make a treatment decision in real time, with 10-micron resolution, all with minimal mechanical and cost impact on the surgical tool.

About the Presenter:

John Black, PhD, has over 20 years of experience in the medical, scientific/research and industrial segments of the photonics industry. In 2010 he founded Glannaventa, Inc., a start-up company developing an imaging micro-endoscope for point-of-care early-stage ovarian cancer diagnosis. He also founded Triermain, a consulting company specializing in laser design and development, optical coherence tomography, medical devices, image-guided surgery and optical remote sensing. At FoxHollow Technologies, he was the optical systems architect in the successful 2006 development of the Nighthawk™ intravascular image-guided plaque excision catheter ( This was the first use of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for real-time guidance of an intravascular surgical procedure performed in humans, and one of the very earliest OCT guided human surgical procedures of any kind. After Foxhollow he led the imaging team at Avinger in the development of OCT-guided catheters for the treatment of chronic total occlusions, a severe end-stage form of peripheral/coronary artery disease that can lead to amputations and bypass surgery. At Lightwave Electronics (now JDSU, Inc.) he worked initially on advanced fiber lasers for RGB projection systems in consumer electronics ( and subsequently on the design of the Xcyte™ mode-locked ultraviolet laser for flow cytometry. Prior to Lightwave, at Coherent Medical he managed the Laser/Tissue Engineering group spearheading the development of flagship surgical, ophthalmic and dermatologic applications of lasers, pioneering a new treatment of cutaneous vascular lesions.

Dr. Black earned a B.Sc. in Chemistry with First Class Honours and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Nottingham. He received an SERC/NATO Research Fellowship to do post-doctoral research in photochemistry at Stanford University and was a post-doctoral research fellow at Columbia University developing new lasers for molecular spectroscopy and reaction dynamics. John has lectured extensively domestically and internationally, has 6 issued patents and many pending applications in the fields of laser development, trans-dermal physiological monitoring, catheter and micro-needle drug delivery, optical diagnostics, and medical devices. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, Chair of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society - Santa Clara Valley Section, and a member of OSA, APS, SPIE and Sigma Xi.

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