Xingde Li, Ph.D.

Headshot of Xingde Li
  • 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 University School of Medicine and a member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. He also has an appointment in the Department of Oncology and the Johns Hopkins University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

His research focuses on biomedical photonics, and he has specific expertise in fluorescence imaging and spectroscopy, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and multiphoton endomicroscopy for cancer detection, surgical guidance, and preterm-birth risk assessment etc. His research group pioneered the development of the first ultra-compact, fully integrated, single-fiber scanning endomicroscope for performing label-free functional imaging of tissue histology in vivo, in situ, and in real time. The ultimate goal of the research in his team is to transform our capability of disease detection at early, manageable stages, reduction of the (random) sampling errors in clinical diagnosis, monitoring of therapeutic effects and treatment outcomes, and guidance of interventions. The technologies developed in his team also offer new opportunities for basic research in exploring new frontiers of disease mechanisms, brain function, bio-marker discovery, and integrated diagnosis and therapy. 

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, Biomedical Optics Express, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, and Light: Science and Applications. 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

Centers & Institutes



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

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.

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Li XD, Boppart SA, van Dam J, Mashimo H, Mutinga M, Drexler W, Klein M, Pitris C, Krinsky ML, Brezinski BE, Fujimoto JG. "Optical coherence tomography: advanced technology for the endoscopic imaging of Barrett's  esophagus," Endoscopy 32(12):921-930 (2000).

Chen JY, Wang DL, Xi JF, Au L, Siekkinen AR, Warsen A, Li ZY, Zhang H, Xia YN, Li XD. "Immuno Gold Nanocages with Tailored Optical Properties for Targeted Photothermal Destruction of Cancer Cells," Nano Letters 7(5):1318-1322 (2007).

Zhang YY, Akins ML, Murari K, Xi JF, Li MJ, Luby-Phelps K, Mahendroo M, Li XD "A compact fiber-optic SHG scanning endomicroscope and its application to visualize cervical remodeling during pregnancy," Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences-USA 109(32):12878-12883 (2012).

Toghi Eshghi S, Yang S, Wang XC, Shah P, Li XD, Zhang H. "Imaging of N-linked Glycans from Formalin-fixed Paraffin-embedded Tissue Sections Using MALDI Mass Spectrometry," ACS Chemical Biology 9(9):2149-56(2014).

Kut C, Chaichana KL, Xi JF, Raza SM, Ye X, McVeigh ER, Rodriguez FJ, Quiñones-Hinojosa A, Li XD. "Detection of human brain cancer infiltration ex vivo and in vivo using quantitative optical coherence tomography," Science Translational Medicine *7(292)*, 292ra100-292ra100 (2015).

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
  • The Hartwell Foundation Individual Biomedical Research Award, The Hartwell Foundation, 2011

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
  • 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
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