The Craver Award

About the Award

In 2006, The Coblentz Society created an award to recognize the efforts of young professional spectroscopists that have made significant contributions in applied analytical vibrational spectroscopy. The first Craver Award was presented in 2007 at the FACSS meeting in Memphis, TN.

The Society named this award for Clara D. Craver in recognition of her pioneering efforts in promoting the practice of infrared vibrational spectroscopy and her many years of service to the Coblentz Society.

Clara Craver was the editor of the Coblentz Desk reference and other subsequent libraries that later became databases of infrared spectra. These libraries are the foundation for the application of modern vibrational spectroscopy. Her efforts resulted in the creation of the investment fund that supports the Coblentz Society and many of its annual awards.

The 2024 Craver Award will be presented this fall at SciX 2024.

Nominate someone for the 2025 award. 

Clara Craver

2024 Craver Award Recipient – Conor L. Evans

Conor Evans

Dr. Conor L. Evans is an Associate Professor at the Harvard Medical School, an Affiliated Faculty member of the Harvard University Biophysics Program, and leads his lab at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Evans received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Physics in 2002 from Brown University under the mentorship of Peter M. Weber in research on ultrafast reaction dynamics. He then moved to Harvard University and the group of X. Sunney Xie for his PhD in Chemistry in the development and application of coherent Raman imaging technologies in biomedicine. His doctoral research established coherent Raman imaging as a tissue imaging and in vivo imaging method, with Dr. Evans working within the Xie group to develop multiple generations of improved coherent Raman laser and microscopy technologies. He carried out his postdoctoral fellowship at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital in the teams of Drs. Joannes de Boer and Tayyaba Hasan applying advanced imaging technologies in the development of antineoplastic therapies.

Dr. Evans joined the faculty at the Wellman Center in 2010 and has focused his laboratory on the development and clinical translation of optical microscopy and spectroscopy tools, with specific interests in ultrasensitive detection of molecular markers, label-free imaging of drugs and tissues, and the imaging and quantification of tissue physiology. Dr. Evans has led the use of coherent Raman imaging technologies in biomedicine, in particular the quantitative imaging of both the skin and skin pharmacology. His team has developed new methods and analyses for the direct imaging of topically applied drugs in skin to extract microscale pharmacokinetic parameters in vivo. Working closely with the FDA, Dr. Evans and his team recently demonstrated stimulated Raman scattering as a technique capable of determining topical product bioequivalence, a key need in the development of generic drugs. Dr. Evans and his team have created a number of imaging devices and clinical instruments in the fields of coherent Raman imaging, nanoscience, and “smart” wearable sensing technologies.

Dr. Evans is a recipient of the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, with his efforts in the synthesis of bright oxygen sensors resulting in the creation of new oxygen imaging and sensing technologies currently in multiple clinical trials. His team is dedicated to the translation of coherent Raman to the clinic for applications in dermatology, and he leads clinical studies applying advanced microscopy in the study of skin disease.

Dr. Evans is an editor for Scientific Reports, PLoS One, and Biophotonics Discovery and has written over 100 peer-reviewed publications. His work has been featured in popular media including Scientific American, Yahoo News, and CBS News. He holds 14 patents and patent applications as he works to translate his technologies to the clinic. He is a Royce Fellow of Brown University and has been honored with several awards, including the Goldwater Scholarship, NASA Space Grants, the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, the ASP New Investigator Award, and is a Fellow of the SPIE. He has served multiple roles for Optica, including General Chair of the Biophotonics Congress in 2023, and additionally serves as co-Chair of a pharmacokinetics conference with SPIE. He serves the Wellman Center as Faculty Liaison to the Department of Defense with efforts in the areas of Combat Casualty Care, En Route Care, and Rehabilitative Medicine. Dr. Evans additionally serves as a faculty member of the Ludwig Center at Harvard.

Recent Craver Award Recipients

2023 Craver Award Recipient

Dr. Ishan Barman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University with joint appointments in Oncology and Radiology. He graduated from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, in 2005 and moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for his Ph.D., where he investigated transcutaneous blood analyte detection using Raman spectroscopy. His doctoral research established many of the experimental and computational methods that are now common to in vivo spectroscopic investigations, notably tissue turbidity correction, integration of non-imaging optical elements, and non-linear chemometric analysis. Continuing his academic journey at MIT, his postdoctoral research leveraged Raman and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy for the first real-time guidance of core needle breast biopsies and provided definitive validation of spectroscopy-based diagnosis of breast lesions with microcalcifications.

Dr. Barman joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins University in 2014 and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2019. His laboratory’s primary objective is the development of transformative biophotonics technologies with the goal of disease detection at early, manageable stages, monitoring therapeutic effects and treatment outcomes, and guiding interventions. The optical tools generated from these investigations have been successfully adopted in diverse biomedical environments including automated histopathologic recognition of biopsy specimen, real-time diagnosis of middle ear pathology, and as a customized monoclonal antibody identification platform. Dr. Barman’s recent breakthrough in the development of a surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy platform for real-time, multiplexed detection of viruses in saliva has garnered significant attention. This technology has been licensed and is currently being commercialized through a startup company, RamanID. 

His work has resulted in 120 peer-reviewed publications in journals such as Nature Materials, Nature Physics, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, Cancer Research, Angewandte Chemie, Advanced Materials and Nano Letters. His work has been prominently featured in leading scientific outlets such as Technology Review and Physics Today, as well as popular media platforms like The Wall Street Journal and CNN Newsroom.  

In light of his research endeavors, Dr. Barman has received numerous prestigious awards, including the NIH MIRA Award for Established Investigators (2023), Oracle Research Fellow (2022), Emerging Leader in Molecular Spectroscopy Award (2019), Eastern Analytical Symposium (EAS) Young Investigator (2019), Johns Hopkins University Catalyst Award (2018), NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (2017), Outstanding Young Engineer (OYE) from the Maryland Academy of Sciences (2016), Dr. Horace Furumoto Innovations Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) (2014), Gordon F. Kirkbright Bursary Award from the Association of British Spectroscopists (ABS) Trust (2011), and Tomas A. Hirschfeld Award from the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies (2010).  

Dr. Ishan Barman

2022 Craver Award Recipient

Dr. Wei Min is currently a Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University. He is also affiliated with the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Kavli Institute for Brain Science, and the NeuroTechnology Center at Columbia University. After graduating from Peking University in 2003, he received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2008 studying single-molecule biophysics with Prof. Sunney Xie. After continuing his postdoctoral work in the Xie group, Dr. Min joined the faculty at Columbia University in 2010 and was promoted to Full Professor in 2017.

Dr. Min has made important contributions to the development of stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy, and employed it to open up a broad range of applications. He co-invented modern SRS microscopy and pushed its sensitivity down to the single-molecule level through stimulated Raman excited fluorescence (SREF) spectroscopy.  His team has designed and synthesized Raman-active probes exhibiting rainbow-like spectral “colors”.  Additionally, his group has opened up applications including bioorthogonal chemical imaging of small biomolecules (such as lipids, amino acids, glucose, and drugs), metabolic activity imaging in animals, and super-multiplexed vibrational imaging.

Dr. Min’s contributions have been recognized by a number of honors, including the Scientific Achievement Award from the Royal Microscopical Society (2021), the Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award (2019), the Analyst Emerging Investigator Lectureship (2018), the Coblentz Award for Molecular Spectroscopy (2017), the ACS Early Career Award in Experimental Physical Chemistry (2017), the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2015), an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (2013), and the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (2012).

Dr. Min is co-editor of the first SRS book entitled “Stimulated Raman Scattering Microscopy: Techniques and Applications” with ELSEVIER, a standing member of the Cellular and Molecular Technologies Study Section of NIH, co-Chair of the SPIE conference on Advanced Chemical Microscopy for Life Science and Translational Medicine, and a senior Scialog facilitator for the Research Corporation for Science Advancement on Advancing BioImaging. He is also an editorial/advisory board member of several journals including Analyst, Trends in Chemistry, and Analysis & Sensing.  During the pandemic, he also served as a Guest Editor of APL Photonics on a Special Issue of COVID-19 and Photonics.

Dr. Wei Min

2021 Craver Award Recipient

Zachary D. Schultz, Ph.D., is an associate professor at The Ohio State University. Prof. Schultz earned his B.S. degree from The Ohio State University in 2000 and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005. He performed his doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof. Andrew Gewirth using infrared-visible sum frequency generation spectroscopy to characterize electrochemical interfaces. As a graduate student, he was recognized with an ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Graduate Fellowship (2004). Upon completing his Ph.D., he was awarded a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship to conduct research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (USA). His research at NIST was performed largely in collaboration with Ira Levin at the National Institutes of Health (USA). Following his postdoctoral training at NIST, Dr. Schultz continued as a research fellow with Dr. Levin at NIH using vibrational spectroscopy and microscopy to study biomembrane systems. Dr. Schultz was awarded an NIH Pathway to Independence Award in 2008.

Dr. Schultz began his independent career as an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame in 2009 and was promoted with tenure to associate professor in 2015. In January of 2018, Prof. Schultz moved his research program to Ohio State.  Prof. Schultz was named a Cottrell Scholar by Research Corporation for Science Advancement in 2013 and elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2019. Prof. Schultz has served on the Analytical Chemistry Editorial Advisory Board’s Features Panel and is currently on the Editorial Advisory board of Luminescence (Wiley) and Analytical Methods (RSC). Prof. Schultz served on the ACS Exams Institute committee to prepare the 2017 ACS Instrumental Analysis Exam. Prof. Schultz serves on the governing board of the Coblentz Society, where his activities include chairing the Student Awards Committee. He is currently president-elect of the Society. Prof. Schultz has organized numerous symposia and sessions at Pittcon, SciX, and ACS meetings; and has served on the program committees of the International Conference for Advanced Vibrational Spectroscopy, the International Conference of Enhanced Spectroscopy, and the Tip-Enhanced Raman Scattering meetings. Prof. Schultz’s research focuses on developing innovative approaches utilizing the unique interactions between light and nanostructured materials for near field imaging, ultrasensitive label-free spectroscopic detection, and controlling chemical reactions.

Zachary Schultz

2020 Craver Award Recipient

Dr. Claudia Conti is a senior researcher at the Institute of Heritage Science (ISPC) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) where she leads the Raman Spectroscopy Laboratory. Through her PhD in Material Engineering (Milan Polytechnic, 2010), under the direction of Professor Giuseppe Zerbi, and her research at ISPC-CNR, she established expertise in the area of advanced applications of vibrational spectroscopy to material analysis, particularly in the area of Cultural Heritage.

She identified critical needs in conservation sciences and searched for innovative solutions. In 2012, she established a major collaboration with Prof. Pavel Matousek to explore spatially-offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS).  SORS is a novel tool developed by Matousek that enables Raman sensing deep inside turbid media on a macro-scale. Dr. Conti conducted her research through several scientific visits (2014-2018) to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Oxford, UK) that lead to the successful transformation of macro-SORS conceptually to the area of Cultural Heritage and the demonstration of a new SORS variant, micro-SORS, capable of resolving micrometer thick layers of paint for the first time.

Since 2014, Claudia has coordinated and managed research activities in micro-SORS at ISPC-CNR. This lead to establishing the feasibility of a simpler variant of micro-SORS, defocusing micro-SORS, readily applicable  in the area of cultural heritage and elsewhere. She also conducted research into the most potent variant of full micro-SORS at ISPC-CNR and at Northwestern University (NU-ACCESS external research program) in Chicago, IL where she was a visiting scientist in 2019.  While there, she developed a research project aimed at combining micro-SORS with Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) for application in Cultural heritage and elsewhere.

The micro-SORS impact in the art field centers around its capability to non-invasively investigate, at the molecular level, paint layer sequences in paintings and the diffusion of decay products or conservation treatments into substrates.

Outside the Cultural Heritage field, the most notable impact of micro-SORS is in the biomedical field, as demonstrated, for example, by the adoption of the micro-SORS concept by a Canadian research team to non-invasively analyze the biochemistry of stored red blood cells inside sealed blood-bags, without breaking the sterility of the system.

Dr. Conti’s research output includes 64 peer-reviewed publications and 16 oral presentations at conferences (8 invited).

Claudia Conti

2019 Craver Award Recipient

Shawn (Xiaoyun) Chen is currently a senior research scientist working at Core R&D Analytical Sciences, the Dow Chemical Company, where he applies all types of optical spectroscopy tools for problem-solving in both Research & Development and Manufacturing and Engineering projects. Shawn has been leading Dow’s global optical spectroscopy technology network since 2013 and also the molecular structure capability since 2016. Shawn has mentored many junior spectroscopists and introduced many non-spectroscopist users such as process engineers and synthetic chemists to the wonderful world of in situ spectroscopy for reaction and process monitoring, and in-field deployment. Shawn’s current work involves collaboration with many world-class experts in their own fields such as organic synthesis, catalyst discovery and development, reaction scale-up and optimization, and process analytical, to accelerate and improve their R&D processes by optical spectroscopy.  Shawn has successfully introduced and implemented in situ spectroscopy to more than ten Dow sites globally, which has won him multiple awards within Dow.

Prior to joining Dow, Shawn obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan (2002-2007), under the guidance of Professor Zhan Chen. His research focused on the development of sum frequency generation vibrational spectroscopy as a powerful tool to investigate biointerfaces. His thesis research won him multiple prestigious awards such as the 2007 Kasimir Fajans Award, nomination for the 2008 National Distinguished Dissertation Award, and 2007 Distinguished Dissertation Awards. Shawn received his B.S. from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, studying polymeric materials and their applications in tissue engineering.

Shawn has been a member of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy and the Coblentz Society since 2013. He is currently serving on the Board of Managers for the Coblentz Society and as the Newsletter Editor for the Society for Applied Spectroscopy. Shawn has been chairing a session on industrial applications of vibrational spectroscopy at SciX every year since 2015.

Shawn Chen

2007-2018 Craver Award Recipients

2018 – Christy Haynes

2017 – Martin T. Zanni

2016 – Karen Faulds

2015 – Ji-Xin Cheng

2014 – Lynne Taylor

2013 – Rohit Bhargava

Archive of Craver Lectures

The following is a recording of the 2013 Craver Award Lecture by Rohit Bhargava, recorded at SciX 2013 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with the financial support of Pike Technologies and produced by the Coblentz Society Education Committee. 

The following is a recording of the 2012 Craver Award Lecture by Duncan Graham.  It was recorded at SciX 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012 and produced by the Coblentz Society Education Committee.