Professor Dr. Christoph K. Hitzenberger
Professor Dr. Christoph K. Hitzenberger Russ Prize
Vice chair , Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Medical University of Vienna
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  • Russ
Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize
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Christoph Hitzenberger is vice chair of the Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at the Medical University of Vienna. He joined the Institute of Medical Physics at the University of Vienna in 1987 as an assistant professor and, with the new head of the department, Adolf F. Fercher, founded the biomedical optics research group. During their pioneering work on low-coherence intraocular ranging, Dr. Hitzenberger developed the first heterodyne low-coherence interferometry (LCI) system for measuring intraocular distances (axial eye length, retinal thickness), presented in 1990. This work led to the development of the first commercial LCI ocular biometry system that is now standard technology in eye clinics worldwide and has been successfully used for intraocular lens adaptation in millions of cataract patients. The technology was expanded to record optical coherence tomography (OCT) images, yielding one of the first in vivo retinal OCT images of the human eye.

In 1995 Dr. Hitzenberger demonstrated, in cooperation with Dr. Fercher, the first application of spectral domain (SD) LCI to intraocular ranging. The huge sensitivity advantage of SD LCI/OCT over the earlier time domain technology led to a paradigm shift in OCT technology and enabled rapid 3D imaging. SD OCT has revolutionized retinal diagnostics and is now the industry standard for retinal OCT, with tens of thousands of SD OCT retinal scanners in use worldwide.

Dr. Hitzenberger received the award of the Hoechst Foundation for Advancement of Medical Research in Austria and is a fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) and the Optical Society (OSA). In addition to serving as editor in chief of the OSA journal Biomedical Optics Express, he is the author or coauthor of some 150 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, with a total of nearly 20,000 citations (Google Scholar).

He studied physics and mathematics at the University of Vienna and received his PhD in 1983. He earned his habilitation in medical physics 1993.

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  • Russ
  • 2017
  • For optical coherence tomography, leveraging creative engineering to invent imaging technology essential for preventing blindness and treating vascular and other diseases.