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Britton Chance and his Italian NIRS friends

Marco Ferrari and Valentina Quaresima / Department of Health Sciences, University of L’Aquila, Italy


Picture 1 : B.C. and Frans Jobsis (Duke University) during the meeting "Optical imaging of brain function and metabolism", that was held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), October 21-22, 1991


Picture 2: Arno Villringer, Marco Ferrari, Britton Chance and David Delpy during the dinner at a restaurant in Rome for celebrating the honorary degree in "Medicine and Surgery" (Rome - Italy, October 9, 1997).


Picture 3: Mamoru Tamura (Japan), Valentina Quaresima (Italy) and B.C. at the 32nd ISOTT meeting that was held in Bari – Italy (August 21-26, 2004).

Marco Ferrari was acquainted with B.C. from the middle of the seventies since he met him during several Biochemistry meetings held in Italy.

Although B.C. has been one of the main founders of in vivo visible reflectance spectroscopy, B.C. and Shoko Nioka started to work on in vivo near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) only in 1987. Indeed, NIRS was discovered in 1977 by Frans Jobsis (Duke University) who, by the way, learned the techniques of optical monitoring of intact tissues as postdoctoral fellow in B.C. laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania in 1962-1964 (see Picture 1).

From 1985, we have been in touch regularly either attending almost every year the meetings organized by the International Society on Oxygen Transport to Tissue, the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, and the American College of Sports Medicine, or promoting together with other colleagues the field of quantitative brain/muscle oximetry and functional NIRS (starting in 1993).

Amongst the different common experienced initiatives, we wish to mention the SPIE Meeting "Photon Propagation in Tissues III” we organized pleasingly all together in San Remo (Italy, September 1997) and the meeting held in Rome (Italy) the following month of the same year (9 October, 1997) organized by the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” for giving to B.C. the Honorary degree in "Medicine and Surgery". For the latter occasion, all the leaders of Biochemistry in Italy and the other pioneers of medical NIRS David Delpy (UK), Arno Villringer (Germany), Enrico Gratton (USA) and Martin Wolf (Switzerland) came to Rome to honor him (see Picture 2).

B.C. came to Italy again on the August 2004 for attending the 32nd Meeting of the International Society on Oxygen Transport to Tissue that was held in Bari (see Picture 3).

Although Marco Ferrari and Valentina Quaresima (who joined the lab in 1991) were never trained in B.C.’s lab, they had the great honor to be estimated and considered from B.C. as his close friends. B.C. was always interested in their work and he was available to give helpful suggestions. In 1997, Valentina Quaresima had the great privilege to write with B.C. and other outstanding scientists (Hamaoka and McCully: B.C.’s previous fellows) a milestone review article published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics. In the article they reviewed the methodological issues of NIRS and NIR imaging for monitoring muscle oxygenation and haemodynamics in healthy and diseased humans and highlighted the significant applications of NIRS and NIR imaging in exercise physiology and clinical medicine.

B.C. will be greatly missed either as a special person or as a giant scientist from our medical NIRS community.

Marco Ferrari and Valentina Quaresima