Institutes, Divisions & Centers
Science of Light Center

The Cincinnati Children's Science of Light Center studies the biological significance of mammalian light sensing pathways and promotes the application of that knowledge to benefit patients and the general public alike.

Image: The preoptic area of the hypothalamus has a central role in regulating body temperature and energy homeostasis. This brain nucleus expresses both Opsin 5 and the leptin receptor (Lepr). In this image, the position of Lepr expressing neurons within the preoptic area is color-coded. 

science of light

Leveraging Advances in Biology, Lighting Science, Design and Engineering to Optimize Health and Wellness

New Research Challenges the Assumed Fetal Experience

A child born before 28 weeks of gestation is considered extremely premature. To help them reach toward normal term birth (40 weeks), these infants spend months in the hospital. 
Although some infants go home without complications, others develop a variety of chronic conditions, ranging from damaged eyesight to under-developed lungs and immune systems that make them vulnerable to regular infections. 
A new, evolving body of research indicates that the lighting environment can affect metabolism, growth, and development.  Our work focuses on how light can optimize patient outcomes in the NICU.

Our Approach

Basic Science Research
A series of basic science discoveries at Cincinnati Children's created the opportunity to execute cutting-edge translational research on light sensing pathways in our pediatric patients.
Translational Research
The Cincinnati Children's NICU has a new full spectrum lighting system within each room to optimize circadian cycles (day and night cycle) and spectral light for fetal development.
The design and production of a novel programmable spectral lighting system required cross disciplinary collaborations with designers, engineers, and manufacturers.
In partnership with BIOS LLC, the Science of Light Center has developed biologically conscious lighting using a proprietary and Cincinnati Children's-patented spectral lighting system. We envision the implementation of this innovative system for all environments in the future.
Investing in collaborative relationships with architectural design and education partners will bring a deeper understanding of the science behind a biologically-conscience light environment.
Public Health
By building a relationship between public health institutions and other environmental entities, we aim to create change in building guidelines and standards in lighting.

Contact Us

If you would like more information about the Cincinnati Children's Science of Light Center, please contact us at