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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Faculty & Staff

Director of Biomedical Optics Lab keeps his eye on research


Karill Larin, right, director of the Biomedical Optics Laboratory, received the Junior Faculty Research Award from Cullen College of Engineering in May 2010.  |  Courtesy of UH.edu

UH is home to an impressive roster of professors from all walks of life, and many of these men and women are world-renowned doctors and scientists.

One professor worth noting is Kirill Larin, director of the Biomedical Optics Laboratory in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Larin, his staff and his students research and develop new methods of tissue functional imaging. Research activity within the lab is congruently supported by four grants from the National Institutes of Health. One of these grants funds the research of optical elastography, which uses optics to characterize cells and tissues based on their elastic and viscoelastic mechanical properties.

“Optical elastography is the new emerging hot area of research,” Larin said. “In utilizing the high-resolution capability of optics, this rapidly emerging field builds on and complements the related fields of ultrasound and MR elastography, as well as existing methods for biomechanics, such as atomic force microscopy and rheology. With the help of professor Sampson from University of Western Australia, we just organized the first inaugural conference devoted to optical elastography methods in medicine and biology.”

The object of this research will help develop instrumentation and methods to treat problems related to the cornea and treat diseases such as glaucoma. Not only does Larin strive for greatness in his research, but his colleagues do as well.

“This work is exciting and promises to be a real game changer for the diagnosis and management of eye diseases such as keratoconus, one of the leading causes of corneal transplant in the United States,” said associate professor of optometry Michael Twa. “Dr. Larin is a powerful creative force that keeps everyone around him motivated and inspired to succeed. His lab has a team spirit that is infectious and that starts from the top.”

Recent biomedical engineering graduate Narendran Sudheendran said Larin’s infectious spirit stretches beyond just the spectrum of fellow doctors.

“I have done research with him, been his TA and have taken his class,” Sudheendran said. “It has been a great experience.”

Along with his Ph.D. from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Larin also holds UH certifications in mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering and at the Department of Optics and Biophysics at the Saratov State University in Russia. He is also the recipient of the Presidential Award from Russian President Boris Yeltsin, recognizing his significant contributions in optics.

However, Larin said he enjoys his research more than getting recognition for it.

“The process of new knowledge which, of course, will lead to new clinical instruments is very exciting not only for me but for my research team,” Larin said.

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