Director


Lev T. Perelman is Professor at Harvard University and Director of the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics. Prior to that he was Principal Scientist and Group Head at MIT. Perelman’s research interests are primarily focused on application of optics to medicine and biology. His group pioneered biomedical light scattering spectroscopy for noninvasive detection of early precancerous changes in epithelial tissues and tissue characterization on a subcellular scale (Phys. Rev. Lett. 1998, Nature 2000, Nature Medicine 2001, Nature Medicine 2010, Nature Biomed. Eng. 2017, Light Sci. Appl. 2018). He also worked with K. Kneipp to demonstrate single molecule detection using SERS (Phys. Rev. Lett. 1997, a Citation Classics with 6,000+ citations) and explained, with I. Itzkan, laser ablation stress confinement, a basic mechanism of short pulse laser surgery, widely used now in ophthalmology and neurosurgery (PNAS 1995). Perelman’s group developed confocal light absorption and scattering spectroscopic (CLASS) microscopy for label-free functional imaging of live cells (PNAS 2007), employed, in collaboration with R. Kalluri, to demonstrate that subcellular exosomes perform cell-independent microRNA biogenesis and promote tumorigenesis (Cancer Cell 2014). Perelman has mentored 28 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with 14 becoming professors at Harvard, Princeton, Northwestern, and other universities.

Principal Faculty


Tony Le Qiu is Assistant Professor at Harvard University and Head of the Biophotonics group at the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics. He has been a member of the Center since 2005 when he joined as a graduate student. A recipient of the Harvard Catalyst Advanced Imaging Concept Development Award, Tony published papers in Nature Medicine (as the first author), Nature Biomedical Engineering (as a co-senior author), Nature Communications (as a co-first author), PNASCancer Cell, and other top scientific journals. He has also published four book chapters, all as a first author. His interests include the application of light scattering spectroscopy and imaging techniques in the fields of biology and medicine. He has been leading the effort of developing endoscopic light scattering spectroscopic imaging used for prediction of the malignant potential of pancreatic cystic lesions during routine diagnostic EUS-FNA procedures. In 2011 he was the first person ever with a physics or engineering doctoral degree accepted by the Harvard Medical School Scholars in Clinical Science M.M.Sc. Program. Tony has been teaching a graduate course on imaging and microscopy methods in biology and medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Irving Itzkan is Lecturer at Harvard University and Senior Scientist at the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics. From 1988 to 2000 Itzkan served as Senior Scientist at MIT. Prior to that he was the Chairman of Optics Research at the Avco-Everett Research Lab (AERL), which designed and developed the first intra-aortic balloon pump, a temporary cardiac assist device used worldwide on three million people. He and L.T. Perelman explained ablation stress confinement, one of the three basic mechanisms of laser ablation (PNAS 1995). He also spearheaded the efforts to develop confocal light absorption and scattering spectroscopic (CLASS) microscopy for functional imaging of live cells without the need for exogenous contrast agents (PNAS 2007). His present research interests involve application of optics to medicine and cell biology.

Edward Vitkin is Lecturer at Harvard University and Senior Scientist at the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics. He recently led the effort to find an analytical solution for the diffusion approximation near the point of entry, a long-standing problem in photon transport in turbid media, such as biological tissue (Nature Commun. 2011). His current areas of interest include light transport in biological tissue and applications to cell biology.

Yuri Zakharov is Lecturer at Harvard University and Senior Scientist at the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics. He received an MS degree in radio physics and electronics in 1981 and PhD degree in physics in 1988 both from Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod, where he also served as Assistant Professor of Physics from 1998 through 2013. He has authored over 50 papers and chapters on holography, microscopy and cancer detection. His research interests include digital holography, microscopy and the application of light scattering and imaging techniques in the fields of biology and medicine.

Vladimir Turzhitsky is Instructor at Harvard University and the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics where his research focuses on the development of novel technologies to advance healthcare and medicine. He completed his postdoctoral training in the field of native contrast microscopy and imaging at Harvard University after completing his dissertation research on the development of new biophotonics techniques for cancer screening at Northwestern University.

Lei Zhang is Instructor at Harvard University and Head of the Biology and Genetics group. He joined the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics in 2013 as a postdoctoral fellow. Originally trained as a geneticist, Dr. Zhang is now working on the interface of genetics, biomedical optics and bioengineering, developing optically controlled epigenetic and optogenetic tools.

Giuseppe Pettinato is Instructor at Harvard University and Head of the Molecular and Stem Cell group. He graduated with a Master in Biology from the University of Catania in 2002, and got his PhD in Embryology in 2008 from the CABIMER joint program of the University of Catania and the Andalusian Center for Regenerative Medicine. After postdoctoral fellowships at Medical University of South Carolina and Virginia Commonwealth University he joined Harvard Medical School, working in collaboration with Prof. Robert A. Fisher on developing hepatic organoids that could be employed in cell therapy for cases of acute and chronic liver failure. His interests include optical spectroscopic characterization of pancreatic and hepatic organoids and employing them for development of optically controlled epigenetic tools.

Affiliated Faculty


Douglas K. Pleskow is Associate Professor at Harvard University and Clinical Chief of Gastroenterology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is also the Director of the Center for Advanced Endoscopy and the Director of the Colorectal Cancer Center. He received a BA degree in neuroscience from the University of Rochester in 1978 and MD degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1982. He has authored multiple book chapters and papers, including publications in Nature Medicine, Nature Biomedical Engineering, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Gastroenterology. He has also edited a book Barrett's Esophagus: Emerging Evidence for Improved Clinical Practice. He is an expert in complex gastrointestinal problems that require therapeutic endoscopic procedures, all aspects of biliary endoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, and pancreatic diseases. His major research interests have been application of optics and spectroscopy to early detection of precancerous changes in Barrett's esophagus, study of serologic markers in pancreatic disease, therapeutic pancreaticobiliary endoscopy and endoscopic ultrasound. Dr. Pleskow is a Fellow of American Gastroenterological Association. In 2009, he was elected the Man of the Year by the National Pancreas Foundation.

Mandeep Sawhney is Associate Professor at Harvard University and Co-Director of GI Endoscopy and the Director of Endoscopy Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He received an MD degree from the University College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India, in 1993 and MS degree in clinical research from the University of Minnesota in 2006. He has published more than 80 manuscripts in peer reviewed journals. His clinical areas of interests are endoscopy for pancreas and biliary diseases, achalasia, Barrett's esophagus and gastrointestinal malignancy. Dr. Sawhney is a Fellow of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. He has served on several national committees, including a combined American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the American College of Gastroenterology task-force that set national quality indicators for gastrointestinal endoscopy.

Jeffrey D. Goldsmith is Associate Professor at Harvard University and the Director of Gastrointestinal Pathology at Boston Children's Hospital. He received a BS degree in biology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1992 and the MD degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1996. He has authored more than 90 articles, reviews and chapters mostly pertaining to the pathology of gastrointestinal disease and soft tissue neoplasms. His research interests include medical diseases of the gastotintestinal tract that occur in the pediatric population such as idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease. Dr. Goldsmith was the President of Rodger C. Haggitt Gastrointestinal Pathology Society in 2016–2017 and a Chair of the Immunohistochemistry Committee for the College of American Pathologists in 2009–2012. At Harvard, he has been the recipient of numerous teaching Awards, most recently the Betty and Ernie Singer Prize for Sustained Excellence in Teaching.

Tyler Berzin is Assistant Professor at Harvard University and the Co-Director of GI Endoscopy and the Director of the Advanced Endoscopy Fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He received an ScB degree in neuroscience from Brown University in 1999 and the MD degree form Brown Medical School in 2003. He has authored more than 60 articles and chapters on endoscopic ultrasound, ERCP, and quality and safety in endoscopy. Dr. Berzin is a Fellow of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and a member of the American Gastroenterologic Association. At Harvard, he has been the recipient of numerous clinical and classroom teaching Awards, including a Harvard Medical School Academy Certificate of Excellence in Teaching for 2010, and the Z. Myron Falchuk Award for Mentoring and Clinical Teaching in 2016. 

Yury Popov is Assistant Professor at Harvard University. His major research focus is on liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, specifically the basic mechanisms of progression and regression of liver scarring. Prof. Popov’s goal is the development of non-invasive diagnostic tools to measure these processes in the clinic, and novel therapies to prevent and reverse cirrhosis and its life-threatening complications. His laboratory is actively working on the development, validation and optimization of small animal models for novel drug target discovery and efficacy testing. Some of Prof. Popov’s current basic research projects include the investigation of a novel macrophage-mediated pathway of fibrosis reversal, a role of intestinal microbiota in chronic liver disease, and elucidating the molecular mechanisms of fibrotic matrix stabilization and collagen cross-linking which make liver scarring irreversible.

Kanchan Kantekure is Instructor at Harvard University and Staff Pathologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She received MD degree from Vaishampayan Memorial Government Medical College in 2004. Her current research interests include pathology of gastrointestinal cancers and their precursor lesions.

Darren Roblyer is Assistant Professor at Boston University. His group utilizes a suite of optical technologies to study cancer at the molecular, cellular, and tissue levels. Prof. Roblyer specializes in both diffuse optical techniques and multiphoton imaging to study tumor drug response and chemoresistance in the lab and in the clinic. His long term goal is to personalize cancer therapies through continuous monitoring with label-free and safe optical technologies.

Saveli Goldberg is Staff Member in the Division of Biostatistics and Biomathematics at the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Radiation Oncology. He is a world renowned expert in the in the field of the statistical decision making algorithms and statistical data analysis. Dr. Goldberg has published over 130 peer reviewed papers, including papers in the BMJ, Nature Biomedical Engineering, and Annals of Surgery.

Gary L. Horowitz is Professor at Tufts University and Director of Informatics at Tufts University School of Medicine. He is nationally recognized as expert, teacher, and leader in the field of clinical chemistry. Professor Horowitz recently finished serving his second 4-year term as Chair of the CAP’s Chemistry Resource Committee, and he is currently Vice Chair of the CAP’s Accuracy-Based Testing Committee. He is also an Associate Editor of Clinical Chemistry. He has received two national recognition awards from the CAP - the Distinguished Patient Care Award in 2014, and the Laboratory Improvement Programs Service Award in 2015.

Jia Sheng is Assistant Professor at University at Albany-SUNY and the RNA Institute. He is interested in understanding 3D structure of nucleic acids, including tRNA, mRNA, rRNA and all other non-coding RNAs, and their metabolic pathways.

Eric U. Yee is Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He completed a fellowship in gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary pathology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, where he also completed an anatomic and clinical pathology residency. He earned his medical degree at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver.

Research Staff and Fellows


Umar Khan is Researcher at the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics. He has co-authored papers in Nature Biomedical Engineering, Light: Science & Applications and a chapter in the book Barrett’s Esophagus: Emerging Evidence for Improved Clinical Practice. He is an expert in software development and micro-optics fabrication.

Peirang Cao is Research Associate at the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics. Prior to that he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York and scientist at the Center for Vegetable Oils and Proteins of Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China. Peirang received his BS in Biology and MS in Microbiology from Shandong Normal University, Jinan, China. In 1999 he received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Saarland University, Saarbrucken, Germany.

James Hands is Research Fellow at Harvard University and the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics. Prior to that he was a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), designing and fabricating microfluidic/optofluidic devices and flow meters that incorporate photonic structures and cytometers that can optically measure particles under flow​. James received his BSc (Hons) degree from the University of Central Lancashire, UK in 2012, and PhD in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde, UK in 2016. During his graduate work he primarily focused on developing a rapid point-of-care test for brain tumor diagnoses, specifically glioblastima multiforme (GBM) and metastatic tumors, and differentiation between several sub-set classes, such as WHO grade and metastatic organ of origin, using ATR-FTIR spectroscopy in human blood serum collected from patients across several UK hospitals. 

Varvarova Dudenkova is Research Fellow at Harvard University and the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics. She received her MS in Radiophysics and PhD in Physics from N.I. Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia in 2013 and 2017, respectively. From 2017 to 2018 she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Technologies.

Conor Sheil is Research Fellow at Harvard University and the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics. He received his BSc degree in Science in 2012 and PhD in Physics in 2016 from the National University of Ireland, Galway. From 2016 to 2018 he was a postdoctoral researcher at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Limei Gu is Visiting Scholar at Harvard University and the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics. She graduated from Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine in 2009 and completed an internship and residency in gastroenterology at Jiangsu Province Hospital in 2016. Since 2016 she has been an attending physician at the Department of Gastroenterology at Jiangsu Province Hospital. Her present research interests involve application of optics to cell biology and development of optically controlled epigenetic tools.

Andrey E. Dudenkov is Visiting Scholar at the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics. He received his MD in Radiology from Privolzhsky Research Medical University in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. From 2012 to 2018 he was a Staff Radiologist at the Nizhny Novgorod City Clinical Hospital. He is an expert in imaging of breast cancer and small bowel obstruction. His present research interests involve application of optics to early detection of cancer in the digestive tract.


Graduate Students


Xuejun Zhang received his BS degree in Information and Computing Science from Anhui Jianzhu University, China in 2014. His PhD work includes developing tilted fiber grating-assisted surface plasmon resonance (SPR) biochemical sensors. Xuejun published papers in Light: Science and Applications, Journal of Materials Chemistry, and Biomedical Optics Express. His research interests include plasmonics, biophotonics, fiber gratings and fiber sensors.

Maria Glyavina received her BS and MS degrees in Biology and Neurotechnology from the N.I. Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia in 2016 and 2018, respectively. She has been studying plasticity and repair in the post-ischemic brain and the role of microglia in neurovascular unit. Her PhD work includes optical spectroscopic characterization of exosomes and optical neurophysiology.

Jun Qiu received his BS degree in Optical Information Science and Technology from Jianghan University in 2014. During his PhD work he has been developing a spatial heterodyne Raman spectroscopy technique for broadband, high-resolution Raman measurements. His current research interests include application of novel optical techniques in biology and medicine.