Conference Explores Intersecting Technologies of Biotech and Photonics

June 25, 2001

Imagine shining a light through a drop of blood to reveal instantly whether a patient has an infection. Or using an ultrafine laser beam to pluck the nucleus from a cell. New inventions like these - which draw from the high-tech disciplines of biotechnology and photonics - will be explored at a conference titled "Convergence: 2001," at the University of Rochester Medical Center on June 27, 2001.

The one-day conference is expected to attract upwards of 300 executives and scientists from the biotechnology and photonics industries, as well as investors from several venture capital firms. The participants will explore how the fields of biotechnology and photonics are converging to create new technologies and new business opportunities. They will also discuss strategies for bringing these new technologies to the marketplace.

The market for "bio-photonics" products, such as medical lasers and laboratory instruments, is expected to top $10 billion in 2002, making it the second-largest segment of the photonics industry, behind telecommunications. The Rochester area is well positioned to become a leading player in bio-photonics.

"New York State employs more people in the photonics industry than any other state in the nation. Much of that talent is concentrated in the Rochester area, where we also have a rapidly growing presence in biotechnology. Rochester is poised to become a center for the convergence of these technologies," said Jay Stein, M.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The conference begins with a presentation by Christopher Meyer, a vice president at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and the director of its Center for Business Innovation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He will discuss the blending of technologies to create new products and new industries, and the effects of the resulting "recombinant technologies" on individual businesses and on the global economy.

Following Meyer, representatives from six high-tech companies and two University of Rochester research groups will deliver 15-minute presentations on new bio-photonics products and innovations. A luncheon keynote address by Russell Bessette, M.D., executive director of the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR), will be followed in the afternoon by a round table discussion titled "From Idea to Marketplace," addressing challenges and strategies for bringing new inventions and innovations to the marketplace. Panelists include a scientist, a high-tech entrepreneur, a venture capitalist, an intellectual property attorney, and others.

The day concludes with remarks by Governor George E. Pataki and a networking reception for conference participants.

Convergence: 2001 is co-sponsored by the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester Technology Park, and Empire State Development. Tours of Rochester Technology Park will be available to conference participants, with a shuttle bus leaving the conference hourly in the afternoon.

The conference will be held in the Conference Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Avenue. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m., and the program begins at 8:30 a.m.

The full program details, on-line registration, and driving directions are available on the Convergence: 2001 Web site,

For Media Inquiries:
Christopher DiFrancesco
(585) 275-3676
Email Christopher DiFrancesco