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Biomedical Engineering Research

Students using microscopes

Biomedical Imaging and Optics

Biomedical imaging designs and enhances systems for non-invasive imaging of cellular, tissue and organ structure for basic science and translational applications. Though the field has traditionally concentrated on anatomical imaging for diagnostic information (e.g., MRI, CT, and PET), it is increasingly recognized that multiscale approaches using optical microscopy are essential to elucidate the cellular and tissue composition needed for superior diagnostics and also for functional and therapeutic applications. Integration of engineering, physics, and computer technology principles in conjunction with the expertise of clinical collaborators is required to achieve these advanced capabilities.


Core faculty

Faculty affiliates

Centers, Consortia and Institutes

Forward BIO Institute

The Forward BIO Institute catalyzes innovation in biomanufacturing research, entrepreneurship, and workforce development. It acts as a “catapult” that pushes groundbreaking technologies into the private sector.

The institute engages with research institutions throughout the Midwest and supports innovations in workforce development, transformative research and development, and public-private partnerships in the emerging area of biomanufacturing: the advanced manufacturing of therapeutic medical devices, cells, tissues, or pharmaceuticals.

Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation (LOCI)

The Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation is a biophotonics instrumentation laboratory stemming from the research activities of its director and founder, Kevin Eliceiri, and LOCI collaborators. Their mission is to develop advanced optical and computational techniques for imaging and experimentally manipulating living specimens.

The lab developed new and improved biomedical imaging instruments and image analysis tools to help fight disease. Projects are driven by demands that arise from the scientific studies of external collaborators and principal investigators and opportunities that arise with the emergence of new technology. Instrumentation development is undertaken in a form that is both accessible and beneficial to the scientific community.

The McPherson Eye Research Institute (MERI)

The McPherson Eye Research Institute is a multi-disciplinary community of scholars working to gain critical knowledge about the science and art of vision and apply it to preventing blindness.

Founded by Drs. Daniel M. Albert and Alice McPherson in 2005, MERI brings the extraordinary diversity and strength of vision research at UW–Madison under one umbrella. It has quickly become one of the world’s foremost multi-disciplinary vision research centers, with more than 150 members in 35 UW–Madison departments and affiliated non-UW institutions. Through basic and clinical science research of the eye and visual system, our researchers have made significant advances in preserving and restoring vision, basic vision research, advanced technologies, and education and outreach.

Morgridge Institute for Research (MIR)

The Morgridge Institute for Research s a private, nonprofit research institute working in partnership with the University of Wisconsin–Madison to improve human health through innovative, interdisciplinary biomedical discoveries, spark scientific curiosity and serve society through translational outcomes.

Quantitative Biology Initiative (QBI)

Technological innovations have revolutionized the scale and detail with which biological systems can be explored. With that revolution comes a new demand for scientists who transcend biological and computational sciences to seamlessly integrate complex datasets into quantitative and predictive models of biological systems.

To address this need, the Quantitative Biology Initiative at UW–Madison is training the next generation of scientists who will work at the interface of computational, statistical, and quantitative biology. The QBI represents a university-wide initiative that brings together students and faculty from diverse departments. They utilize an exceptional level of inter-departmental collaboration at UW–Madison to provide students outstanding training opportunities in interdisciplinary, collaborative research.

University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC)

The University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center is recognized throughout the nation as one of the leading innovators in cancer research, quality patient care, and active community involvement. It is the only comprehensive cancer center in Wisconsin, as designated by the National Cancer Institute.

UWCCC’s location in the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR) allows researchers to work with scientists from other disciplines, speeding the transfer of cutting-edge science to patients.

Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR)

The Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research has embraced a new way of doing science since its opening in 2008. In this new model, traditional research silos become obsolete as basic, translational, and clinical scientists—in cancer, imaging, neuroscience, surgery, and cardiovascular and regenerative medicine—work together to move discoveries quickly from bench to bedside and into the community.

In addition to its three interdisciplinary research towers, WIMR neighbors the UW Health Sciences Learning Center, the UW Schools of Pharmacy and Nursing, and the UW Hospital and Clinics and American Family Children’s Hospital—making it well-positioned for easy interactions between WIMR scientists, their health sciences colleagues, practicing clinicians, and the patients whose lives they hope to improve.