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Dr. Chi Zhang

Dr. Chi Zhang

Research interests:

Our research focuses on the development and application of optical spectroscopy, imaging, and molecular control of chemicals in biological samples and materials. We also study cell metabolism in stress conditions by using chemical imaging and precision opto-control of molecular targets.

(1) Development of novel chemical imaging platforms

We aim to obtain chemical contrasts to understand biological processes using nonlinear optical spectroscopy and imaging. Especially, we develop new imaging platforms based on coherent Raman scattering, multiphoton fluorescence, transient absorption, and harmonic generation processes. We are improving the sensitivity and throughput of nonlinear optical imaging technologies for live biological systems.

(2) Real-time precision opto-control (RPOC)

We use lasers to precisely control chemical processes in living biological samples in real-time. RPOC utilizes chemical signals to trigger a closed-loop feedback control to precisely manipulate specific molecular targets in live cells without affecting other parts of the cell. With RPOC, we explore how to precisely control chemical processes in cells and study the consequences of molecular control on cell functions.

(3) Understand cell metabolism in stress conditions

We use multimodal chemical imaging, RPOC, and spontaneous Raman spectroscopy to study cell metabolism in stress conditions. Lipid metabolism in stressed cancer cells is an area of interest. Besides, we also study how bacteria cells respond to antibiotic and blue light treatment.

(4) Study properties of solid-state materials

We use chemical imaging platforms including coherent Raman scattering and transient absorption microscopy to study charge transfer and thermal properties of solid-state materials.

Research Keywords: Label-free Chemical Imaging, Coherent Raman Microscopy, Precision Opto-Control, Multiphoton Microscopy, Optical Spectroscopy, Analytical Chemistry, Cell Metabolism, Cancer Biology, Biomedical Engineering.


  • B.S., Tianjin University, Opto-electronics, 2006
  • M.S., Tianjin University, Opto-electronics, 2008
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, Chemistry, 2014


List of publications