Skip to main content
HomeIDRC 2016 Awards



The CNIRS is pleased to announce that FossNA will be sponsoring the Gerald S. Birth Award. Foss has more than 60 years of experience as a leading provider of dedicated analytical solutions to maximize value of production of agricultural food products.


The Gerald S. Birth Award, conferred every two years for an outstanding publication describing innovation in diffuse reflection or diffuse transmission spectroscopy, is administered by the CNIRS in memory of Gerald Birth. It is fitting that Gerry Birth had major interest in developing instrumentation for the measurement of agricultural products.



The Council for Near Infrared Spectroscopy (CNIRS) is proud to announce that this year’s winner of the Gerald S. Birth Award for best work in diffuse spectroscopy published in 2014 to 2015 is Dr. Eric B. Brauns. He is receiving recognition for his paper, “Mid-Infrared Diffuse Reflection on Ultrafast Time Scales”, published in Applied Spectroscopy, Vol 68 Number 1, pp 1-4 (2014). Dr. Brauns describes an elegant instrument which allows the estimation of travel paths of infrared photons through samples of various mixtures of KBr and carbon black. Sophisticated data analysis suggests that the photons entering the sample at 30 degrees and detected at 30 degrees fall into two distinct categories. The majority (more than 90%) of the diffusely reflected photons travel relatively short paths (0.05 to 0.2 mm), while the other fraction traverses longer paths (1.3 to 2.3 mm). In both cases the shortest distances are travelled at the highest concentrations of the absorber. The conclusion is, “This bimodal character could only have been identified using a time-resolved approach.” The award and a lecture by Dr. Brauns will be presented as part of a special symposium at the 18th International Conference on Diffuse Reflectance (IDRC) at Chambersburg, PA July 30 to August 5, 2016.


Dr. Brauns received a B.Sc. degree from Virginia Tech. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina for studies on the ultrafast dynamics of DNA folding using time-resolved fluorescence measurements. He was a Post-doctoral Fellow and later on the Technical Staff at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Currently he is an Associate Professor at the University of Idaho Department of Chemistry, Moscow, Idaho.


The Gerald S. Birth Award, conferred every two years for an outstanding publication describing innovation in diffuse reflection or diffuse transmission spectroscopy, is administered by the CNIRS in memory of Gerald Birth. The late Dr. Birth was the founder of the IDRC, now sponsored by the CNIRS. Dr. Birth made many contributions to instrument technology related to diffuse reflection. It is fitting that the Birth Award this year is conferred upon Dr. Brauns, who also has a deep interest in understanding the interaction of scattering and absorption in diffusely scattering samples.

Birth Award Winners
 Award Winner         
 2004  Peter R. Griffiths  University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho
 2006  Yukihiro Ozaki
 Kwansei Gakuin University, Sanda, Japan
 2008  James Burger
 Burgermetrics, Jelgava, Latvia
 2010  David H. Burns  McGill University, Montreal, Canada
 2012  Michael Myrick  University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
 2014  Donald J. Dahm
 Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey
 2016  Eric B. Brauns  University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho


The CNIRS is proud to announce this year’s winners of the Travel Awards in support of attending the 18th International Diffuse Reflectance Conference at Chambersburg, PA July 30 to August 5, 2016. This year eight students will receive reimbursement for most of their travel expenses, plus registration for the conference, which includes room and board at the Conference venue, Wilson College. The students have submitted statements of why they would like to attend the Conference, and they will present posters of their work. This year was unusual, that the only applicants from the US were all from the Mylan School of Pharmacy, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh PA.

Md. Anik Alam is a fifth-year graduate student under the guidance of Carl Anderson at Duquesne University. He is pursuing studies on the Design of Experiments in spectral space for NIR calibration development. He has a paper on this topic in submission, coauthored with James Drennen and Carl Anderson.

Raphael Henn is in the second year of his PhD studies in the field of vibrational spectroscopy under the supervision of Christian W. Huck at the Institute of Analytical Chemistry and Radiochemistry in Innsbruck, Austria. He working on the determination of carbohydrates in groceries such as jam, honey and syrup and helping to develop a portable near infrared instrument. He is also interested in the application of IR imaging to oral squamous cell carcinoma samples. He has published two papers with members of his research group, and has one on results with a portable NIR instrument in press.

Md. Nayeem Hossain is in his fourth year in the PhD program at Duquesne University, being advised by James Drennen. His research interests include risk management associated with the life cycle of analytical methods such as NIR and Raman spectroscopy, and creation of robust multivariate calibration models for pharmaceutical applications. He has published one paper with members of his research group on robustness considerations and effects of moisture variations on near infrared method performance, and has several papers in process.

Yi Li obtained a BS degree in Pharmacy at Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. She is presently a fourth year PhD student at Duquesne University, under the supervision of Carl Anderson. She has published some of her work with Benoit Igne, James Drennen and Carl Anderson on method development and validation for pharmaceutical tablets analysis using transmission Raman spectroscopy.

Yuanyuan Pu is in her third year of PhD studies in University College Dublin, Ireland, under the supervision of Da-Wen Sun. Her research involves using diffuse reflectance spectroscopy and hyperspectral imaging for quality measurement of tropical fruits during post-harvest and processing. She has published three papers with her thesis advisor, and three other papers in the course of her Masters thesis in China.

Tine Ringsted is a third year PhD student at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) under the supervision of Søren Balling Engelsen. Her interest is in infrared spectroscopy with a supercontinuum laser applied to food products. She has a paper in press on this topic with members of her research group and Aarhus University, and 5 other papers related to her previous work in Quantitative Structure–Activity Relationship analysis.

Natasha Lee Velez-Rodriguez is a second year graduate student under the supervision of James Drennen at Duquesne University. She received her BS in Chemistry and worked with Rodolfo Romañach at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, using Chemometrics and Near Infrared Chemical Imaging for the analysis of solid dosage forms. She is interested in the application of spectroscopic analytical tools, such as DR-NIR, to enhance the understanding of pharmaceutical manufacturing processes. She has published 2 papers with members of the Romañach group.

Yuxiang Zhao has a BS degree in Pharmacy, Wuhan University, China and a Masters Degree with Stephen Hoag at the University of Maryland, Baltimore MD. He is presently is presently a second year PhD student at Duquesne University, under the supervision of Carl Anderson. His research focus is on material characterization, manufacturing process development and process control using near infrared spectroscopy.

The International Diffuse Reflectance Conference is convened every two years. The late Dr. Gerald S. Birth was the founder of the IDRC (“The Chambersburg Conference”), now sponsored by the CNIRS. The Chambersburg Conference follows the “Gordon Conference” format: the attendees attend plenary morning and evening sessions, with afternoons free for elective activities. This allows a unique opportunity for informal interaction with highly accomplished professionals in the field. Since 1982, this conference has offered the opportunity to forge lifelong professional relationships and friendships.