OSC Colloquium: Yeran Bai, "Capturing Heat, Illuminating Life: Photothermal Infrared Microscopy in Biomedical Research"

Oct. 26, 2023

Optical Engineering

Yeran Bai


Capturing Heat, Illuminating Life: Photothermal Infrared Microscopy in Biomedical Research


Optical imaging techniques have fundamentally transformed our comprehension of biological systems, catalyzing numerous discoveries in biomedical research. Vibrational spectroscopic imaging has emerged as a promising chemical imaging modality, as it enables the direct visualization of biomolecule without fluorescent labels, relying solely on inherent chemical bond vibrations. Among these, Mid-Infrared Photothermal (MIP) imaging distinguishes itself as an innovative approach by probing photothermal effects induced by mid-infrared (IR) absorption with a visible beam. This technique offers significant enhancements in spatial resolution for far-field mid-IR imaging, facilitating sub-micrometer, and depth-resolved imaging of living cells and whole organisms. In this talk, I will present the recent advancements we have achieved in MIP technology, including improvements in spectral coverage, imaging speed, and integration with other imaging modalities. Additionally, I will discuss how the MIP platform has played a pivotal role in addressing a diverse array of biomedical questions, ranging from microbiology to stem cell and neurodegeneration. Overall, this talk aims to highlight the transformative potential of the MIP platform in paving new paths for biomedical discoveries.


Dr. Yeran Bai is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Neuroscience Research Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She completed her B.S. degree in Optical Science and Engineering from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in 2013 and went on to earn her Ph.D. in Optical Engineering from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2019. During her doctoral studies, she was awarded with the International Student Exchange Fellowship and joined Dr. Ji-Xin Cheng’s group at Boston University, and later continued her postdoc training there focusing on photothermal infrared imaging and its biomedical applications. Presently, she works with Dr. Kenneth Kosik at UCSB, exploring the metabolic alterations associated with Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Bai has also served as a guest editor for the Journal of Optics and Journal of Physics: Photonics, chaired sessions at SPIE Photonics West, and offered her expertise as a consultant for Photothermal Spectroscopy Corp.

Recording Available Upon Request to UArizona Parties Only


Florian Willomitzer, Colloquium Chair & Professor: colloquium@optics.arizona.edu