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“We are breaking completely new ground”.

Between quantum electronics and medicine: Justinas Pupeikis wants to use the breathing air for diagnostic purposes.


What does the name Ursula Keller mean to you, Mr Pupeikis?

She is my professor and has just won the European Inventors’ Prize for her life’s work. It is mainly because of her that our Institute for Quantum Electronics is one of the world’s leading addresses in the field of laser technology. Mrs. Keller’s work has opened up new fields of application for laser technology; for example, the field in which I work: the detection of so-called volatile organic compounds (VOC).

What could this mean for medicine?

There is strong evidence that diseases – such as a lung tumor – leave traces in the molecular composition of the air we breathe.

Why has this insight not yet been used?

Today, the analysis of VOCs requires a mass spectrometer. However, these instruments are very expensive and difficult to handle.

With your device “InfraSniff” you want to offer an alternative…

That’s how it is. I intend to commercialize a part of our knowledge here. My vision is to make the analysis of breathing air as informative as a blood test. But there is still a long way to go: first I have to complete my doctoral thesis.

Which paths are open to you afterwards?

For example, I could apply for a “Pioneer Fellowship” at ETH Zurich.


Justinas Pupeikis has joined the Business Concept course in spring 2018.