Jitao Zhang (hj2529)

University information

Title: Assistant Professor
Unit: Biomedical Engineering
Department: College of Engineering

Contact information

College of Engineering

Title: Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Address: 6135 Woodward Detroit, MI 48202
Building: Integrative Biosciences Center
Room: 3416
Homepage URL: https://www.brilloptics.org/
Google Scholar URL: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=RyFp82sAAAAJ&hl=en

Jitao is an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University. Before that, he was a research assistant professor in Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he also received his postdoc training from 2015 to 2018. He briefly worked at the University of Arizona from 2012 to 2014 as postdoc. He obtained the Ph.D. degree in optical engineering from Tsinghua University, Beijing China. He has authored more than 30 articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited two book chapters. Jitao has been a recipient of several awards, including the Doctoral Dissertation Excellence Award, the Excellent Youth of China Instrument Society scholarship, the Marcy Speer Award for postdoc, the NIH K25 award, and the Helmsley Scholar from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He has 3 US patents granted on Brillouin technique.

Courses Taught

 BME3470, Biomedical Signals and Systems Cr. 3

 BME4410, Introduction to Biomedical Instrumentation Cr.3


Research Interests

I am interested in devising innovative technology for biomedical research and clinical medicine. Currently I am focusing on developing a novel imaging modality, Brillouin microscopy, as well as its integration with other optical modalities to quantify the mechanical properties (stiffness and viscosity) of cells, tissue, and biomaterials. By doing this, I am trying to address several important questions in biophysics and mechanobiology, and ultimately pursue clinical application in combating birth defects and cancer diseases.

Publications (last 5 years, check Google Scholar for full list)

  1. J. Zhang#, M. Nikolic, K. Tanner, and G. Scarcelli#, Rapid biomechanical imaging at low irradiation level via dual line-scanning Brillouin microscopy, Nature Methods, 2023. (#corresponding author)​
  2.  J. Zhang# and G. Scarcelli#, Mapping mechanical properties of biological materials via an add-on Brillouin module to confocal microscopes, Nature Protocols, 2021. (#corresponding author)​
  3. C. Handler, G. Scarcelli and J. Zhang#, Time-lapse mechanical imaging of neural tube closure in live embryo using Brillouin microscopy, Scientific Reports, 13,263, 2023.(#corresponding author)​
  4. Y. S. Ambekar, M. Singh, A. W. Schill, J. Zhang, C. Zevallos-Delgado, B. Khajavi, S. R. Aglyamov, R. H. Finnell, G. Scarcelli, and K. V. Larin, Multimodal imaging system combining optical coherence tomography and Brillouin microscopy for neural tube imaging, Optics Letters, 47, 1347-1350, 2022.
  5. A. Roberts, J. Zhang, V. Singh, M. Nikolic, E. Moeendarbary, R. D. Kamma, T.C. So, G. Scarcelli, Tumor cell nuclei soften during transendothelial migration, J Biomechanics, 121, 110400, 2021.
  6. J. Zhang, F. Alisafaei, M. Nikolić, X. A. Nou, H. Kim, V. B. Shenoy, and G. Scarcelli, Nuclear Mechanics within Intact Cells Is Regulated by Cytoskeletal Network and Internal Nanostructures, Small, 1907688, 2020. (featured as Inside Cover)
  7. Wisniewski et al., Dorsoventral polarity directs cell responses to migration track geometries, Science Advances, 6, eaba6505, 2020. 
  8. Y. S. Ambekar, M. Singh, J. Zhang, A. Nair, S.R. Aglyamov, G. Scarcelli, and K. V. Larin,Multimodal quantitative optical elastography of the crystalline lens with optical coherence elastography and Brillouin microscopy, Biomedical Optics Express, 11(4), 2041-2051, 2020.
  9. J. Zhang*, R. Raghunathan*, J. Rippy, C. Wu, R. H. Finnell, K. V. Larin, and G. Scarcelli, Tissue biomechanics during cranial neural tube closure measured by Brillouin microscopy and optical coherence tomography, Birth Defects Research,1-8, 2018. (* co-first author)

Professional Affiliations

  • Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)
  • The Optical Society (OSA)
  • The International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) 

Awards and Honors

  • Helmsley Scholarship, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory 2020
  • China Instrument and Control Society Award (1st Prize) 2020
  • Maryland Invention of the Year Award Finalist 2018
  • The Marcy Speer Award (Best postdoc presentation, NTD 2017) 2017
  • National Award for Science and Technology Progress of China (2nd Prize) 2011
  • Jin Guofan Prize for Excellent Youth of China Instrument Society 2010


  • G. Scarcelli, J. Zhang, A. Fiore, H. Kim, System and method of label-free cytometry based on Brillouin light scattering, US patent (10,386,288), issued.
  • G. Scarcelli, J. Zhang, Analysis of Single-Cell Mechanical Phenotyping for Metastatic Detection, US patent (10,732,092), issued.
  • G. Scarcelli, J. Zhang, H. Kim, Cell classification based on mechanical signature of nucleus, US patent (10,598,594), issued.


  • Ph.D. Optical Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2010
  • B.S. Optical Information Science & Technology, Wuhan University, 2006
Jitao Zhang

Courses taught by Jitao Zhang

Fall Term 2023 (future)

Winter Term 2023

Fall Term 2022

Winter Term 2022

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