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Stephen Allen Boppart
Stephen Allen Boppart

Stephen Allen Boppart

(217) 244-7479
4351 Beckman Institute

For more information


  • M.D. Medicine Harvard Medical School June 2000
  • Ph.D. Medical and Electrical Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology June 1998


Prof. Boppart graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 1990 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an option in Bioengineering. Continuing at UIUC, he completed his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1991, where he developed microfabricated multi-electrode arrays for neural recordings. From 1991 to 1993, at the Air Force Laser Laboratory in San Antonio, Texas, he conducted research on laser-tissue interactions in the eye, helping establish national laser safety standards. Prof. Boppart then went on to MIT, receiving his Ph.D. in 1998 in Medical and Electrical Engineering. His doctoral studies included the development of optical coherence tomography in Prof. Jim Fujimoto's laboratory.

As part of a joint program between MIT and Harvard, Prof. Boppart completed his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in June 2000. Currently, Prof. Boppart is an Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering with appointments in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Bioengineering, and Medicine at UIUC. He is Head of the Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and along with a team of 25 researchers, is investigating novel optical diagnostic imaging technologies for basic science and translational clinical applications.

From 2006-2008, he served as Founding Director of the Mills Breast Cancer Institute, and holds a research position with Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Illinois. His efforts included constructing a new building and developing new infrastructure to support translational research and technology development in biomedical research between UIUC and Carle Foundation Hospital.

Prof. Boppart has co-founded three companies, the two more recent at UIUC include Diagnostics Photonics and PhotoniCare, which include novel optical imaging technologies for surgical and primary care applications, respectively. Currently he is Director of the campus-wide Imaging at Illinois initiative which leverages the strengths and diversity of over 100 faculty working in all aspects of imaging science, technology, and applications.

Academic Positions

  • Director, Imaging at Illinois; Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 2008-November 2015
  • Full Professor (50%), Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Full Professor (50%), Department of Bioengineering; Clinical Professor (0%), Department of Internal Medicine; Research Professor (0%), Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory; Research Professor (0%), Institute for Genomic Biology; Full Professor (0%), Neuroscience Program; Full Professor (0%), Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Teaching Statement

Prof. Boppart's teaching activities and interests are highly interdisciplinary, following his research activities. Teaching activities cover cross-cutting areas in engineering, medicine, and biology. Courses have included ECE/BioE 414 and 415, Biomedical Instrumentation lecture and laboratory, ECE 460 Optical Imaging, ECE 380 Biomedical Imaging, and ECE 467 Biophotonics. For each of these, courses are taught relating fundamental engineering and scientific principles to real-world applications. Students participate directly with state-of-the-art information exchange by performing literature searches and preparing classroom presentations of journal articles about techniques and technologies discuss in lecture. Concepts are reinforced by use of stimulating discussions centered around clinical scenarios. For example, students in ECE 380 Biomedical Imaging are randomly given a medical beeper than when called for an "emergency", are presented with clinical medical images and scenarios that call on their ability to apply course principles to diagnose technical problems in the imaging data or systems. Students complete these courses having a broad-based knowledge of these subjects, and key tools for further in-depth investigations and advanced study.

Research Statement

My interdisciplinary research group combines the fields of engineering, medicine, and biology to develop novel optical biomedical imaging technologies and translate these for biological discovery and clinical applications. Biophotonics, the application of light in medicine, biology, and biotechnology applications, enables us to develop innovative technologies to detect disease at early stages, when it is most amenable to treatment.

Post-Doctoral Research Opportunities

The Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has an immediate opening for a post-doctoral research associate in the area of nonlinear optical imaging systems for biomedical applications. Headed by Prof. Stephen Boppart, the Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory is a dynamic and productive interdisciplinary research and training environment focused on developing novel optical biomedical imaging technologies, translating them into clinical applications, and driving them toward commercialization for improving healthcare.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

There is a long history of undergraduate research opportunities in Prof. Boppart's Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory. Over the last 15 years, over 75 undergraduate students have conducted research in Prof. Boppart?s laboratory, often leading to an undergraduate thesis. Research areas cover aspects of optical imaging and physics, signal and imaging processing, image acquisition systems, biomedical optics and biophotonics, laser and optical source development, and clinical imaging applications. Undergraduate research experiences typically extend over two or more semesters, and result in the completion of an undergraduate thesis and a departmental symposium presentation. Exceptional research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national conferences.

Research Interests

  • Optical Diagnostics of Cancer
  • Medical Engineering
  • Image-Guided Surgery
  • Optical Coherence Tomography
  • Lasers in Medicine and Biology
  • Optical Biomedical Imaging

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Graf BW, Chaney EJ, Marjanovic M, Adie SG, De Lisio M, Valero MC, Boppart MD, Boppart SA. Long-term time-lapse multimodal intravital imaging of regeneration and bone-marrow-derived cell dynamics in skin. Technology, 1:1-12, DOI:10.1142/S2339547813500027, 2013.
  • Graf BW, Bower A, Chaney EJ, Marjanovic M, Adie SG, De Lisio M, Valero MC, Boppart MD, Boppart SA. In vivo multimodal microscopy for detecting bone-marrow-derived cell contribution to skin regeneration. (Featured on Cover) Journal of Biophotonics, 7:96-102, 2014.
  • Ahmad A, Shemonski ND, Adie SG, Kim H, Hwu W-M, Carney PS, Boppart SA. Real-time in vivo computed optical interferometric tomography. Nature Photonics, 7:444-448, 2013.
  • Nguyen CT, Jung W, Kim J, Chaney EJ, Novak M, Stewart CN, Boppart SA. Non-invasive in vivo optical detection of biofilm in the human middle ear. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 109:9529-9534, 2012.
  • Adie SG, Graf BW, Ahmad A, Carney PS, Boppart SA. Computational adaptive optics for broadband optical interferometric tomography of biological tissue. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 109:7175-7180, 2012.
  • Jung W, Kim J, Jeon M, Chaney EJ, Stewart CN, Boppart SA. Handheld optical coherence tomography scanner for primary care diagnostics. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Invited Cover Figure, 58:741-744, 2011.
  • Chowdary PD, Benalcazar WA, Jiang Z, Chaney EJ, Marks DL, Gruebele M, Boppart SA. Molecular histopathology by spectrally-reconstructed nonlinear interferometric vibrational imaging. Cancer Research (Invited Cover Figure), 70:9562-9569, 2010.
  • Nguyen FT, Zysk AM, Chaney EJ, Kotynek JG, Oliphant UJ, Bellafiore FJ, Rowland KM, Johnson PA, Boppart SA. Intraoperative evaluation of breast tumor margins with optical coherence tomography. Cancer Research (Invited Cover Figure), 69:8790-8796, 2009.
  • T.S. Ralston, D.L. Marks, P.S. Carney, S.A. Boppart, "Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Microscopy," Nature Physics, 3:129-134, 2007.
  • C. Xi, D. L. Marks, D. S. Parikh, L. Raskin, and S. A. Boppart, "Structural and Functional Imaging of Three-Dimensional Microfluidic Mixers Using Optical Coherence Tomography." Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, 101:7516-7521, 2004.
  • D. L. Marks, and S. A. Boppart, "Nonlinear Interferometric Vibrational Imaging," Physics Review Letters, 92:123905, 2004.
  • Boppart SA, Luo W, Marks DL, and Singletary K, "Optical Coherence Tomography: Feasibility for Basic Research and Image-Guided Surgery of Breast Cancer," Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, vol. 84, pp. 85-97, 2004.
  • Boppart SA, Bouma BE, Pitris C, Southern JF, Brezinski ME, Fujimoto JG, "In Vivo Cellular Optical Coherence Tomography Imaging," Nature Medicine, vol. 4, no. 7, pp. 861-864, 1998.


  • Edmund Optics Start-Up Award to PhotoniCare, 2018
  • SPIE Photonics West Start-Up Challenge, First Place to PhotoniCare, 2018
  • Entrepreneurial Excellence New Venture Award, 2017 - Champaign Economic Development Corporation
  • Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), 2017
  • IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Technical Achievement Award, 2016
  • iBIO Propel Chicago Innovation Showcase Business Plan Competition, 2015 - Diagnostic Photonics, Inc - First Place - PhotoniCare, Inc. - Second Place
  • Andrew T. Yang Research Award, Department of ECE, 2015
  • Excellence in Research Award, Carle Foundation Hospital, 2014
  • Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), 2014
  • Innovation Transfer Award, Illinois Office of Technology Management, 2014
  • PhotoniCare, Inc. start-up awards: Chicago Innovation Mentors, NSF I-CORP, Research Park I-START, 2013
  • Hans Sigrist Prize, International prize on selected topic of Diagnostic Laser Medicine, 2012
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2013
  • Bliss Professorship of Engineering, 2011
  • Fellow, IEEE ? Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2011
  • Invitee, National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Conference Seeing the Future with Imaging Science, 2010
  • Innovate Illinois, State-wide small business competition runner-up for start-up company, Diagnostic Photonics, Inc., 2010
  • Paul F. Forman Engineering Excellence Award, Optical Society of America, 2009
  • Fellow, Optical Society of America, 2009
  • Fellow, SPIE - International Optical Society, 2009
  • Special Recognition of Achievement Award for Promotion Dossier Campus Committee on Promotion and Tenure, 2008
  • Visiting Professorship, Raine Medical Research Foundation, 2007-2008
  • Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising, 2006 and 2007
  • IEEE, Elected Senior Member, 2005
  • University of Illinois Alpha Chapter Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Honor Society) Outstanding Alumni Award, 2005
  • IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Early Career Achievement Award, 2005
  • UIUC College of Engineering Young Alumni Achievement Award, 2005
  • Technology Review Magazine's Top 100 Young Innovator in the World, 2002
  • Whitaker Foundation Fellow, 2001
  • Young Faculty Award, American Association of Anatomists, 2001
  • Graduated cum laude, Harvard Medical School, 2000
  • New Focus, Inc. Student Travel Award, 1998
  • American Association of Anatomists Travel Award, 1998
  • Coherent Laser Group Conference Travel Award, 1995
  • Brooks Air Force Base Outstanding Civilian of the Year Armstrong Laboratory, 1992
  • Senior 100 Honorary, 1990, University of Illinois
  • Graduated summa cum laude (Highest Honors), 1990, University of Illinois
  • Norman R. Carson Outstanding Junior Electrical Engineer in the United States, 1989
  • Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Electrical Engineer, 1989, University of Illinois
  • National Society of Professional Engineers Scholar, 1986

Teaching Honors

  • Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising, 2006
  • UIUC College of Engineering Everitt Award for Teaching Excellence, 2003, 2005

Research Honors

  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2004
  • UIUC College of Engineering Xerox Faculty Award for Outstanding Research, 2002
  • Resident Physician Research Award, College of Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, 2001
  • Soma Weiss Research Award, Harvard Medical School, 1999
  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Outstanding Armstrong Laboratory, 1992
  • Armstrong Laboratory Director's Award for Excellence, 1991
  • Air Force Scientific Advisory Board's Superior Laboratory at Brooks Air Force Base, 1991
  • E.C. Jordan Award for Bioengineering Research, 1990, University of Illinois

Public Service Honors

  • National 4-H Alumni Award for Illinois, 2008
  • Ironwood Lake Association, Board Member, 2006
  • Volunteer, Children's Science Museum, Exhibit Planning, 2002
  • Judge, Illinois Science Olympiad State Tournament, 2001
  • Judge, Illinois Junior Academy of Sciences, Science Fair, 2001, Regional Science Fair 2003
  • Usher and Volunteer, St. Matthews Catholic Church, Champaign, IL, 2000; Nursery Supervisor, 2002

Courses Taught

  • BIOE 297 - Individual Study
  • BIOE 380 - Biomedical Imaging
  • BIOE 497 - Individual Study
  • ECE 380 - Biomedical Imaging
  • ECE 498 - Special Topics in ECE