photoacoustic microscopy of mouse ear vasculature

Biomedical Imaging and Biophotonics

The Duke BME program is a world leader in development of novel biomedical imaging technologies, with translational and basic science applications.

In the past few decades, our faculty have pushed the boundaries of discovery and innovation in optics and photonics (e.g. optical coherence tomography and low-coherence interferometry), ultrasound (e.g. acoustic radiation force impulse based elasticity imaging), MRI, X-ray, and nuclear medicine-based imaging technologies, developing new diagnostic and treatment tools for ailments ranging from cancer to cardiovascular, neurological, and ophthalmic diseases.

Our research efforts span from advancing the physics and mathematical theory of imaging, image acquisition, and image processing to hardware design and clinical applications. We address longstanding problems in development of multi-dimensional and multi-modality imaging systems with unmatched image acquisition speed, resolution, and penetration depth. We investigate development of complex image-guided clinical tools (e.g., autonomous surgical robots) to cheap and robust image diagnostic technologies (e.g., cellphone cameras).

There are extensive collaborations between our biomedical imaging and Duke University Medical Center clinicians, resulting in rapid translation of numerous imaging technologies developed at Duke BME to the patient bedside and commercialization.

The Biomedical Imaging research community at Duke is supported and enhanced by numerous centers and programs, including the Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics, the Duke Center for In Vivo Microscopy, the Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies, and the Duke Medical Imaging Training Program.

Department Chair

Joseph A. Izatt

Michael J. Fitzpatrick Distinguished Professor of Engineering

Research Interests: Biomedical optics and spectroscopy, coherence-based imaging and microscopy, novel instrumentation for minimally invasive medical diagnostics, and real-time image-guided robotic microsurgery.

Primary Faculty

Timothy Dunn

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Machine learning, computer vision, neurobiology, animal behavior, computational neuroscience, prognostic modeling, traumatic brain injury

Sina Farsiu

Anderson-Rupp Professor of Biolmedical Engineering

Research Interests: Focused on medical imaging and machine learning to improve the overall health and vision outcome of patients with ocular and neurological diseases (e.g., age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, Alzheimer, and ALS) through earlier and personalized therapy.

Yiyang Gong

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Recording and understanding brain activity by developing novel combinations of optical microscopy and genetically encoded sensors. Using these technologies, we wish to dissect neural circuit function and investigate how neural activity drives complex behaviors.

John Wirthlin Hickey

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Joseph A. Izatt

Michael J. Fitzpatrick Distinguished Professor of Engineering

Research Interests: Biomedical optics and spectroscopy, coherence-based imaging and microscopy, novel instrumentation for minimally invasive medical diagnostics, and real-time image-guided robotic microsurgery.

David F. Katz

Nello L. Teer, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering

Research Interests: Methods for prophylaxis against STD's, emphasizing topical microbicides and contraception; biofluid mechanics; rheology and transport phenomena; biophysical aspects of mammalian sperm motility, sperm transport, and fertilization; and biomechanical functioning of the vitreous of…

Kathryn Radabaugh Nightingale

Theo Pilkington Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Ultrasonic and elasticity imaging; image-guided therapies; biomechanical tissue modeling; ultrasonic bioeffects.

Mark L. Palmeri

Professor of the Practice in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Ultrasonic imaging, specifically using acoustic radiation force to characterize the mechanical properties of tissue, and finite element analysis of soft tissue response to impulsive radiation force excitation. Other research interests include ultrasonic bioeffects and mechanical…

Nimmi Ramanujam

Robert W. Carr, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Biomedical engineering, biophotonics, women's cancers, global health, engineering design 

Gregg E. Trahey

Robert Plonsey Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Medical ultrasound, image guided surgery, adaptive imaging, imaging of tissue's mechanical properties, and radiation force imaging.

Tuan Vo-Dinh

R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Biophotonics, laser-excited luminescence spectroscopy, room temperature phosphorimetry, synchronous luminescence spectroscopy, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, field environmental instrumentation, fiberoptics sensors, nanosensors, biosensors and biochips for the protection…

Olaf T. Von Ramm

Thomas Lord Distinguished Professor of Engineering

Research Interests: Diagnostic ultrasound imaging systems, IR imaging, medical instrumentation and their new applications.

Adam P. Wax

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Optical spectroscopy for early cancer detection, novel microscopy and interferometry techniques.

Patrick D. Wolf

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Advanced instrumentation for diagnosis and treatment of electrophysiological problems. This research covers two primary organ systems: the heart and the brain. In the heart, Dr. Wolf is developing an image guided ablation system for treatment of arrhythmias. In the brain, he is…

Junjie Yao

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Photoacoustic tomography (PAT) technologies, and translating PAT advances into diagnostic and therapeutic applications, especially in functional brain imaging and early cancer theranostics.

Secondary Faculty

Alexandra Badea

Associate Professor in Radiology

Research Interests: Alzheimer's Disease, Brain Imaging, MRI, Connectivity, Multivariate Biomarkers, Image Analysis, Neurological Conditions. 

Louis Edwin DeFrate

Laszlo Ormandy Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

Bastiaan Driehuys

Professor of Radiology

G. Allan Johnson

Charles E. Putman University Distinguished Professor of Radiology

Anthony Nanlin Kuo

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

Joseph Yuan-Chieh Lo

Professor in Radiology

Ehsan Samei

Reed and Martha Rice Distinguished Professor of Radiology

Research Interests: Dr. Samei’s scientific expertise include x-ray imaging, theoretical imaging models, simulation methods, and experimental techniques in medical image formation, quantification, and perception.  His research aims to bridge the gap between scientific scholarship and clinical…

Guillermo Sapiro

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Interests: Image and video processing, computer vision, computer graphics, computational vision, biomedical imaging, brain imaging, cryo-tomography of viruses, computational tools in cryo-tomography, computational tools in early diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, differential geometry and…

William Paul Segars

Professor in Radiology

Allen W Song

Professor in Radiology

Martin Paul Tornai

Associate Professor of Radiology

Cynthia Ann Toth

Joseph A.C. Wadsworth Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology

Michael Rod Zalutsky

Jonathan Spicehandler, M.D. Distinguished Professor of Neuro Oncology, in the School of Medicine

Research Faculty

Cameron R. Bass

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Biomechanics of blast, blunt and ballistic trauma and pediatric trauma. His research focuses on injury risk from microscale to macroscale for the head, neck, thorax and extremities.

Al-Hafeez Z Dhalla

Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Biomedical optics, especially optical coherence tomography, scanning laser ophthalmoscopy and LiDAR, applied to the diagnostic imaging, image guided surgery and robotic microsurgery.

Faculty Emeritus

Stephen William Smith

Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Development and evaluation of improved medical ultrasound image quality for applications in cardiology, radiology and obstetrics. Advances in image quality result from improvements in the spatial resolution and signal-to-noise ratio of diagnostic ultrasound scanners through…