Jitao Zhang

Jitao Zhang

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering


Jitao Zhang


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.


Ph.D. Optical Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2010

B.S. Optical Information Science & Technology, Wuhan University, 2006



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.

Research Group



  1.  J. Zhang and G. Scarcelli, Mapping mechanical properties of biological materials via an add-on Brillouin module to confocal microscopes, Nature Protocols, 2021. (Co-corresponding author)​
  2. 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.
  3. 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. (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/smll.201907688)  (featured as Inside Cover)
  4. Wisniewski et al., Dorsoventral polarity directs cell responses to migration track geometries, Science Advances, 6, eaba6505, 2020. (DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba6505 )
  5. 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 (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1364/BOE.387361).
  6. 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 (DOI: 10.1002/bdr2.1389) (* co-first author)
  7. K. Yan, Y. Liu, J. Zhang, S. O. Correa, W. Shang, C.-C. Tsai, W. E Bentley, J. Shen, G. Scarcelli, C. B. Raub, X.-W. Shi, and G. F. Payne,Electrical Programming of Soft Matter: Using Temporally Varying Electrical Inputs to Spatially Control Self Assembly, Biomacromolecules, 2017 (DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.7b01464).
  8. R. Raghunathan*, J. Zhang*, C. Wu, J. Rippy, M. Singh, K. V. Larin, and G. Scarcelli, Evaluating biomechanical properties of murine embryos using Brillouin microscopy and optical coherence tomography, Journal of Biomedical Optics, 22, 086013 (2017) (* co-first author)
  9. J. Zhang, X. Nou, H. Kim, and G. Scarcelli , Brillouin flow cytometry for label-free mechanical phenotyping of the nucleus, Lab on a chip, 17, 663-670 (2017). (featured as front cover)
  10. J. Zhang, A. Fiore, S.-H. Yun, H. Kim, and G. Scarcelli , Line-scanning Brillouin microscopy for rapid non-invasive mechanical imaging, Scientific Reports, 6, 35398 (1-8) (2016). 
  11. P. Shao, S. Besner, J. Zhang, G. Scarcelli, and S.-H. Yun, Etalon filters for Brillouin microscopy of highly scattering tissues, Optics Express, 24, 22232-22238 (2016).
  12. A. Fiore, J. Zhang, P. Shao, S.- H. Yun and G. Scarcelli, High-extinction virtually imaged phased array-based Brillouin spectroscopy of turbid biological media, Applied Physics Letters, 108, 203701 (2016) 
  13. K. Berghaus, J. Zhang, S.-H. Yun, and G. Scarcelli, High-finesse sub-GHz-resolution spectrometer employing VIPA etalons of different dispersion, Optics Letters, 40(19),4436-4439(2015)

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.

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