The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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BME’s Chen in Groundbreaking Research Collaboration with UMass Medical School

Yu Chen

Yu Chen

Associate Professor Yu Chen, formerly at the University of Maryland and now joining UMass Amherst’s Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department, will play a pioneering new role for campus faculty members. “[Dr. Chen] will have his research lab at the UMass Medical School, with only a very small footprint on the Amherst campus,” says Acting BME Head Tilman Wolf. “This is a new model to improve collaboration between the Amherst campus and the UMass Medical School.”

See video about Chen’s research »

Wolf explains how doctors at the UMass Medical School “are happy that they get to work with engineers, and we are happy that our engineers get to work close to doctors and patients.” He views this arrangement as a potential model for other departments to foster collaboration with the Medical School. 

Chen runs multidisciplinary, collaborative research programs to develop pioneering optical imaging techniques that serve numerous biomedical functions and address various medical challenges. Optical imaging technologies in Dr. Chen's lab include innovative techniques for utilizing optical coherence tomography, multi-photon microscopy, fluorescence molecular imaging, laminar optical tomography, and endoscopy.

As Chen says, his lab studies new optical imaging methods for applications that include functional neuroimaging, early cancer detection, transplant organ evaluation, tissue engineering, and more.

“Our research programs focus on the intersection of optical imaging and clinical medicine,” explains Chen, “with the objective of engineering improved devices and methods for clinical translation and ultimately providing better diagnostic and therapeutic outcomes.”

Performing research at the UMass Medical School will provide unique clinical resources to further translate the techniques developed in Chen’s lab to clinical practice. In addition, such a close interaction with clinicians and biomedical scientists will facilitate the identification of new research questions and the establishment of new collaborations.

Among many other honors, Chen Dr. Chen received the coveted NSF CAREER Award in 2012. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), and he is a senior member of the Optical Society of America (OSA). He has also served as the conference program chair and general chair for the OSA Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics: Applications and Technologies.

Chen has been an associate editor of Medical Physics and a guest editor of the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics on Quantum Electronics, the SPIE Journal of Neurophotonics, and Scientific Reports. Currently, he serves as an associate editor of the IEEE Transactions in Biomedical Engineering.

Chen received his B.S. in Physics from Peking University in Beijing, China, in 1997 and his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. (January 2020)