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Ver Steeg Fellowship

The Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellow award is designed "to support the research of a tenured Northwestern faculty member whose research and scholarship are so outstanding as to enhance the reputation of Northwestern, nationally and internationally."

The award was established and endowed by the late Clarence Ver Steeg and his wife, Dorothy.  Clarence Ver Steeg was a faculty member in the department of history from 1950 until 1992 and served as Dean of The Graduate School from 1975 to 1986. This is Northwestern University's first endowed award for excellence in research by a faculty member.

Each year the Provost identifies a broad academic field as the area from which nominations are solicited from school deans.  The fellowship provides for a one-time research account of $38,000.

Congratulations to the 2015 Recipient

Vadim Backman

Vadim Backman

Walter Dill Scott Professor of Biomedical Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Vadim Backman, the Walter Dill Scott Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been named the tenth recipient of the Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship Award.

Backman’s research encompasses a wide array of disciplines in the areas of engineering, biology, and medicine. He has pioneered the development of new technologies in biophotonics and biomedical optics, utilizing light to understand the structure and function of cells and tissues at the nanoscale. Such technologies include partial wave spectroscopy (PWS or nanocytology) and low-coherence enhanced backscattering (LEBS) to “offer non-invasive tissue analysis, depth resolution, and unique sensitivity to tissue microarchitecture.” 

Through his research, Backman has discovered new approaches to examining cell nanoarchitecture and molecular events in carcinogenesis. In turn, innovations such as these translate to the conception of new methods for detecting, screening, and diagnosing cancer, potentially making it possible to eradicate the disease before the patient begins to display symptoms.

In addition to his lab research, Backman is the chairman and co-founder of Nanocytomics, LLC and American BioOptics, two startups dedicated to the advancement of his groundbreaking work. He also serves as Program Leader in the Cancer and Physical Sciences Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University.

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