Zijian Deng, Ph.D., is an Instructor in the Department of Radiation Oncology’s Division of Medical Physics & Engineering. As a key researcher with a background in biomedical optics, Dr. Deng is responsible for two important research investigations: the development of a bioluminescence tomography (BLT)-guided system for pre-clinical radiation research and establishing in vivo cell tracking techniques using optical methods to support researchers for their translational studies.

Dr. Deng earned his doctoral degree in natural science from Peking University in China. During this period, he devoted himself to the field of photoacoustic imaging (PAI) where he developed several innovative PAI systems for anatomical and functional imaging. To improve PAI contrast, he further accessed novel nanoparticles for in vivo tumor imaging.

As a member of the Biomedical Imaging and Radiation Technology Lab (BIRTLab), Dr. Deng works closely with Ken Kang-Hsin Wang, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and leader of the BIRTLab, and has made great advances in the field of optical tomography for pre-clinical radiotherapy guidance. He first developed a high-throughput image-guided method for tumor localization using BLT-reconstructed center of mass and demonstrated it in an orthotopic glioblastoma model.

Now as an Instructor, Dr. Deng is further advancing this BLT technique to quantify tumor growth and treatment assessment for orthotopic pancreatic adenocarcinoma. He also works with Benjamin Chen, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and leader of the Chen Lab, to develop animal model and 3D optical methods for in vivo cell tracking. These innovative technologies would support scientific communities to facilitate the development of therapeutic intervention for cancer treatment.

Research Interest

  • Biomedical optics
  • In vivo cell tracking
  • Optical tomography-guided radiation therapy