Junjie Yao


Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Our mission at PI-Lab is to develop state-of-the-art photoacoustic tomography (PAT) technologies and translate PAT advances into diagnostic and therapeutic applications, especially in functional brain imaging and early cancer theranostics. PAT is the most sensitive modality for imaging rich optical absorption contrast over a wide range of spatial scales at high speed, and is one of the fastest growing biomedical imaging technologies. Using numerous endogenous and exogenous contrasts, PAT can provide high-resolution images at scales covering organelles, cells, tissues, organs, small-animal organisms, up to humans, and can reveal tissue’s anatomical, functional, metabolic, and even histologic properties, with molecular and neuronal specificity.

At PI-Lab, we develop PAT technologies with novel and advanced imaging performance, in terms of spatial resolutions, imaging speed, penetration depth, detection sensitivity, and functionality. We are interested with all aspects of PAT technology innovations, including efficient light illumination, high-sensitivity ultrasonic detection, super-resolution PAT, high-speed imaging acquisition, novel PA genetic contrast, and precise image reconstruction. On top of the technological advancements, we are devoted to serve the broad life science and medical communities with matching PAT systems for various research and clinical needs. With its unique contrast mechanism, high scalability, and inherent functional and molecular imaging capabilities, PAT is well suited for a variety of pre-clinical applications, especially for studying tumor angiogenesis, cancer hypoxia, and brain disorders; it is also a promising tool for clinical applications in procedures such as cancer screening, melanoma staging, and endoscopic examination.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Contact Information:


  • Ph.D. Washington University, 2012

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions:

  • Collaborative Sciences Award. American Heart Association . 2018
  • OSA/Quantel Bright Idea Competition (Finalist). Optical Society of America. 2017
  • Seno Medical Best Paper Award. SPIE conference Photons Plus Ultrasound 2016: Imaging and Sensing. 2016
  • Thousand Talents Program for Distinguished Chinese Young Scholar. Central Coordination Committee of China . 2016
  • Seno Medical Best Paper Award. SPIE conference Photons Plus Ultrasound 2015: Imaging and Sensing . 2015
  • Seno Medical Best Paper Award. SPIE conference Photons Plus Ultrasound 2013: Imaging and Sensing . 2013
  • Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Aboard. The Education Ministry of China. 2012
  • Best Master Dissertation Award. Tsinghua University. 2008
  • Comprehensive Student Fellowship. Tsinghua University. 2008
  • KangShien Outstanding Graduate Fellowship. Tsinghua University. 2006
  • CyrusTang Fellowship (2002-2006). Tsinghua University. 2002

Courses Taught:

  • BME 303: Modern Diagnostic Imaging Systems (AC or GE)
  • BME 303L: Modern Diagnostic Imaging Systems (AC or GE)
  • BME 394: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 493: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 494: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 590: Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering
  • BME 791: Graduate Independent Study
  • BME 792: Continuation of Graduate Independent Study
  • BME 899: Special Readings in Biomedical Engineering

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