June 1, 2017

Rolland Excels as Researcher, Mentor, and Leader

Jannick RollandPassionate. Forceful. Creative. Effective.

These are the adjectives that help explain why Jannick Rolland is the 2017 recipient of the Edmund A. Hajim Outstanding Faculty Award.

Rolland, the Brian J. Thompson Professor of Optical Engineering, joined the Institute of Optics in 2009.

Since then, she has:

• Helped shape the Robert E. Hopkins Center for Optical Engineering, which she has directed since 2012. It is now a shared instrumentation facility that promotes collaboration across departments, and recruits diverse undergraduates from optics and mechanical and chemical engineering into its research.
• Spearheaded the 2013 creation of the Center for Freeform Optics (CeFO), which she directs and which now has 16 corporate and research laboratory members. CeFO, a joint venture with UNC-Charlotte, brings the universities and companies together at the precompetitive research stage of a game-changing new technology. Freeform optics uses lenses and mirrors in a range of shapes to deliver increasingly compact, lightweight and easily targetable optical devices.
• Co-founded and is CTO of LighTopTech, which she launched in 2013 with Cristina Canavesi, based on high definition volumetric microscopy Canavesi helped develop in the Rolland lab. A liquid lens refocuses at different depths inside samples to obtain high-resolution volumetric images of materials. This allows medical professionals to rapidly and noninvasively image subcellular structures beneath the surface of the skin or within the human eye. It can also capture details inside materials to monitor the quality of manufacturing processes.
• “Produced some of the very best students,” says Xi-Cheng Zhang, director of the Institute of Optics and M. Parker Givens Professor of Optics. For example, Kyle Fuerschbach, one of her graduate students, was awarded the 2014 outstanding dissertation award in the Hajim School for pioneering work in freeform optics.

“The Hajim Outstanding Faculty Award is a perfect recognition for Prof. Rolland’s contributions,” Zhang says.

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Photo (cropped) by J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester