2024 Investiture Information

John X.J. Zhang

Professor of Engineering


Dr. Zhang received his PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University, and was a research scientist in systems biology at MIT before joining the faculty at UT Austin, where he was tenured in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. His key contribution is in developing miniature medical systems to improve global health, through innovations in bio-inspired nanomaterials, lab-on-chip design, and advanced nanofabrication technologies for probing complex biological networks critical to human development and diseases such as cancer; and multi-scale modeling of the underlining fundamental force, flow, and energy processes. He received the Wallace Coulter Foundation Early Career Award for developing handheld microphotonic imaging scanners and microsystems for early oral cancer detection; NSF CAREER award for the invention of plasmonic scanning probes design for controlled perturbation and imaging at sub-cellular level; and DARPA Young Faculty Award for patterning plasmonic surface on MEMS for biomarker sensing applications. He has published over 120 peer reviewed papers and proceedings, presented over 45 invited seminars worldwide, and filed over 50 US and international patents. His research findings were licensed to two companies: CardioSpectra (acquired by Volcano, Nasdaq: VOLC), and NanoLite Systems for developing successful products designed to diagnose cancer through blood screening, tissue imaging and cell transformations at the point-of-care.

He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), an alumnus of NAE Frontiers of Engineering programs, an Associate Editor for Biomedical Microdevices, IEEE/ASME Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, and has published a textbook for undergraduates entitled Molecular Sensors and Nanodevices: Principles, Designs and Applications in Biomedical Engineering.

Research Interests

Miniature imaging and biosensing systems; bio-inspired nanomaterials; lab-on-chip design; advanced nanofabrication technologies; multi-scale modeling of fundamental force, flow, and energy processes in biological interactions


  • BS, Shanghai Jiao-Tong University 1995
  • MS, electrical engineering, U Maine at Orono 1998
  • PhD, electrical engineering, Stanford University 2004
  • Research Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2005


  • NIH Transformative Research Award, 2016
  • Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), 2015
  • National Academy of Engineering, Frontiers of Engineering Program (FOE 2011, FOEE 2012, US-China FOE, 2013)
  • DARPA Young Faculty Award, 2010
  • NSF CAREER Award, 2009
  • British Council Early Career RXP Award, 2008
  • Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Early Career Award in Biomedical Engineering, 2006

Professional Activities

  • American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), College of Fellows
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Member
  • American Physical Society (APS), Member
  • American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Member
  • Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), Member
  • IEEE, Senior Member
  • Materials Research Society (MRS), Member
  • Optical Society of America (OSA), Member

Selected Publications

  • D. Chen and X.J. Zhang, "Porous PVDF Film with Dense Surface Enables Efficient Piezoelectric Conversion," Applied Physics Letters, 106, 19301, 2015.
  • G. Behave, E. Ng, Y. Lee, X.J. Zhang, "Micro patterned quantum dots excitation for cellular microarray imaging," Proc. of SPIE, Vol. 9342, 93410F-1 (invited paper).
  • P. Chen, Y-Y Huang, K. Hoshino and X.J. Zhang, "Microscale Magnetic Field Modulation for Enhanced Capture and Distribution of Rare Circulating Tumor Cells," Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 5, 8745, doi:10.1038/srep08745, March, 2015.
  • T. Sharma, S. Naik, J. Langevine, B. Gill, X.J. Zhang, "Aligned PVDF-TrFE nanofibers with high-density solid and core-shell structures for endovascular pressure sensing," IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 188-195, 62,1, 2015.
  • G. Bhave, Y. Lee, K. Hoshino, X.J. Zhang, "Colloidal Quantum Dot Based Light Emitting Diodes with Solution Processed Electron Transporting Layer," IEEE Sensors Journal, 234-239, 15, 1, 2015.
  • K. Hoshino, G. Behave, E. Ng, X.J. Zhang, "Micro Patterned Quantum Dots Excitation and Imaging for Cellular Microarray Screening," Sensors and Actuators A, 216, 301-307, 2014.
  • Y. Wang, N. Triesault, D.Y. Gokdel, L. Wang, Y.Y. Huang, and X.J. Zhang, "Magnetic actuated stainless steel scanner for two photon imaging based circulating tumor cell screening," Journal of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems, DOI 10.1109, 2014.
  • P. Chen, Y.-Y. Huang, K. Hoshino, C.-H. Wu, K.V. Sokolov, X.J. Zhang, "Multiscale immunomagnetic enrichment of circulating tumor cells: from tubes to microchips," Lab on a Chip, 14, 446-458, 2014 (Critical Review)
  • K. Hoshino, P. Joshi, G. Bhave, K. Sokolov, and X.J. Zhang, "Use of colloidal quantum dots as a digitally switched swept light source for gold nanoparticle based hyperspectral microscopy," Biomedical Optics Express, Vol. 5, Issue 5, pp. 1610-1615, 2014.
  • L. Wang, Y. Wang, and X.J. Zhang, "Embedded metallic focus grating and photonic crystal based lambda/4 nano-slot for subwavelength near-field light confinement," IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, 20,3, 2014.
  • Y. Song, Y. Huang, X. Liu, X.J. Zhang, M. Ferrari, L. Qin, "Point-of-care technologies for molecular diagnostics using a drop of blood," Trends in Biotechnology, review for special issue on “Blood”, 32, 3, p132-139, 2014 (invited review).
  • S. Bish, M. Sharma, Y. Wang, N. Triesault, J. Reichenberg, X.J. Zhang, J.W. Tunnell, "Handheld diffuse reflection spectral imaging (DRSi) for in-vivo characterization of skin," Biomedical Optics Express, 5, 2, pp. 573-586, 2014.


  • Handheld imaging probe | 8,767,279
  • Forward-imaging optical coherence tomography (OCT) systems and probes | 8,531,676
  • Optically-implemented microsurgery system and approach | 8,505,544
  • Uniform transfer of luminescent quantum dots onto a substrate | 8,193,010
  • Near-field scanning optical microscope probe having a light emitting diode | 7,621,964
  • Mechanically tunable optical-encoded force sensor | 7,594,443


  • ENGS 22: Systems
  • ENGS 159: Molecular Sensors & Nanodevices in Biomedical Engineering