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Xingde Li, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Xingde Li, Ph.D.

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: In vivo cellular metabolism imaging; Wound healing imaging and surgical guidance; Preterm birth assessment; Infection and inflammation detection; Noninvasive cancer detection; Functional nanocapsules and nanoparticles for molecular imaging; NIR fluorescence imaging; Label-free mass-spectrometry imaging (MSI); Multiphoton endomicroscopy; Optical coherence tomography (OCT) more


Dr. Xingde Li is a professor of biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He also has an appointment in the Johns Hopkins University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

His research focuses on biomedical optics, and he has specific expertise in fluorescence diffuse photon density waves, fluorescence tomography technology for cancer detection, and optical imaging probes development. His research group pioneered the development of the first ultra-compact, fully integrated, single-fiber scanning endomicroscope. His team is currently focused on developing transformative optical imaging and nano-biophotonics technologies that aim to reduce the (random) sampling errors in clinical diagnosis and improve targeted therapy capabilities.

Dr. Li received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed postdoctoral training in biomedical optics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Li joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2009.

Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. Li was an associate professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington.

He serves on the editorial board of several journals, including the Journal of Biomedical Optics and IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. His work has been recognized with several awards, including the ADR/GlaxoSmithKline Innovation in Oral Care Award in 2009. more


  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions



  • B.S., University of Science and Technology of China (China) (1990)
  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania) (1998)

Additional Training

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 2001, Biomedical Optics

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Li's research interest centers on the development of cutting-edge and translational biophotonics technologies that interface and bridge basic engineering research and medical diagnosis and intervention. The research and training involves vertical integration of multiple disciplines, including (but not limited to) optics, electrical engineering, micro-nano technology, biology and clinical medicine. The ultimate goal of his research is to transform disease detection capabilities at early, manageable stages, monitoring therapeutic effects and treatment outcomes and guiding interventions. The technologies also offer new opportunities for basic research in exploring new frontiers of disease mechanisms, brain function, biomarker discovery and integrated diagnosis and therapy.


There are increasing needs for new technologies that can: (1) reduce the (random) sampling errors in clinical diagnosis, and improve scientists' capability of early disease detection and guidance of biopsy and interventions, and (2) improve scientists' capability of targeted therapy and monitoring treatment outcomes. The research in Dr. Li's lab focuses on developing transformative optical imaging and nano-biophotonics technologies to address these needs. The imaging technologies feature nondestructiveness, unique functional and molecular specificity and multi-scale resolution (from organ to architectural morphology, cellular, subcellular and molecular level). The nano-biophotonics technologies emphasize biocompatibility, multi-function integration and fast-track clinical translation. These imaging and nano-biophotonics technologies can also be potentially powerful tools for basic research, such as drug screening, nondestructive assessment of engineered biomaterials in vitro and in vivo, and the study of brain functions on awake animals under normal or controlled social conditions.

Lab Website: Biophotonics Imaging Technologies (BIT) Laboratory

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Xi J, Zhang A, Liu Z, Liang W, Lin LY, Yu S, Li X. "Diffractive catheter for ultrahigh-resolution spectral-domain volumetric OCT imaging." Opt Lett. 2014 Apr 1;39(7):2016-9. doi: 10.1364/OL.39.002016.

Zhang N, Tsai TH, Ahsen OO, Liang K, Lee HC, Xue P, Li X, Fujimoto JG. "Compact piezoelectric transducer fiber scanning probe for optical coherence tomography." Opt Lett. 2014 Jan 15;39(2):186-8. doi: 10.1364/OL.39.000186.

Chen J, Toghi Eshghi S, Bova GS, Li QK, Li X, Zhang H. "Epithelium percentage estimation facilitates epithelial quantitative protein measurement in tissue specimens." Clin Proteomics. 2013 Dec 1;10(1):18. doi: 10.1186/1559-0275-10-18.

Christensen JM, Brat GA, Johnson KE, Chen Y, Buretta KJ, Cooney DS, Brandacher G, Lee WP, Li X, Sacks JM. "Monocytes loaded with indocyanine green as active homing contrast agents permit optical differentiation of infectious and non-infectious inflammation." PLoS One. 2013 Nov 25;8(11):e81430. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081430. eCollection 2013.

Strathman M, Liu Y, Li X, Lin LY. "Dynamic focus-tracking MEMS scanning micromirror with low actuation voltages for endoscopic imaging." Opt Express. 2013 Oct 7;21(20):23934-41. doi: 10.1364/OE.21.023934.

Activities & Honors


  • Faculty Early Career Development Award, National Science Foundation, 2004
  • New Focus Travel Award, Optical Society of America, 1996
  • Best Student Poster Award, OSA Biomedical Optics Topical Meeting, 2006
  • Best Student Paper Award, SPIE BIOS (Conference 6434), 2007
  • Distinguished Teacher/Mentor Award, University of Washington, 2002
  • ADR/GlaxoSmithKline Innovation in Oral Care Awards International (with Dr. Sandra Bordin), 2009
  • Fellowship, Engineering Conference International (ECI) , 2007
  • Engineering Foundation Fellowship, 1997
  • Zhang Zhongzhi Science and Technology Award, University Science and Technology Senior, 1990
  • Samuel C. C. Ting Physics and Biology Award, 1987

Professional Activities

  • Associate Editor, Biomedical Optics Express, 2010
  • Associate Editor, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 2009
  • Chair of Emerging Technologies Committee, IEEE EMBS Society, 2006 - 2010
  • Editorial Board, IntraVital Microscopy
  • Editorial Board, Light: Science and Applications
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Biomedical Optics, 2009
  • Faculty Senate, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • New Focus/Bookham Award Committee, Optical Society of America (OSA), 2006 - 2005
  • Proposal Review Panel, National Science Foundation, 2004 - 2009
    Sixteen times
  • Scientist Reviewer, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (5 times), 2005 - 2010
  • Special Emphasis Study Sections and P41, P01 Panels, National Institutes of Health, 2003 - 2010
    Twenty three times
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