Five Things to Know About the Wellman Center for Photomedicine

Woman getting blue light treatment

The Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital is the world’s largest academic research facility dedicated to investigating the effects of light on human biology and to the development of light-mediated, minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic technologies.

The Wellman Center is a pioneer in light-based biomedical research and has been the source of many popular clinical innovations, so we decided to share a few fun facts. Here are five things to know:

How can light impact health?

number 1

Light can affect human biochemistry, in ways that can be both good and bad for our health. For example, ultraviolet light is known to cause the most common human cancer, but it also has mysterious benefits for wound healing, pain, stroke, and blood flow.

What kind of inventions have come out of the Wellman?

number 2

Wellman Center researchers have invented a number of popular laser technologies that have been adopted into clinical care. Some technologies include: laser hair removal, tattoo removal, tissue healing (scars, wrinkles and skin pigmentation) and the technology behind CoolSculpting.

Who is the Director of the Wellman Center?

number 3

The director of the Wellman Center is Rox Anderson, MD, a world-leading Mass General dermatologist and a Harvard professor. Dr. Anderson has been awarded over 60 national and international patents, and has co-authored over 250 scientific books and papers.

Bill Gates called a Wellman invention one of 10 breakthrough technologies of 2019

number 4

In February of this past year, Bill Gates included the “gut probe in a pill” on his list of 10 breakthrough technologies for the MIT Technology Review. The gut probe was developed by Wellman Center researcher Gary Tearney, MD, PhD, and was designed to easily capture images of the gut without the need for anesthesia. Dr. Tearney is a Remondi Family Endowed MGH Research Institute Chair and a Mike and Sue Hazard Family MGH Research Scholar 2012-2017.

What kind of technologies are researchers working on right now?

Wellman Center researchers are constantly looking to improve the efficacy and safety of laser technology. They are currently developing new laser treatments for tissue renewal across organs and working on integrating laser treatment and imaging technology to reimagine surgery. For more information on their current research, check out their website and clinical studies.

About the Mass General Research Institute
Massachusetts General Hospital is home to the largest hospital-based research program in the United States. Our researchers work side-by-side with physicians to develop innovative new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent disease.
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