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William H. Sanders
Department Head
306 N. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
Ph: (217) 333-2300
Fax: (217) 244-7075

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Articles about Stephen Allen Boppart

Stephen Allen Boppart

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Stephen Allen Boppart
Stephen Allen Boppart
4351 Beckman Institute MC 251
405 N. Mathews
Urbana Illinois 61801
(217) 244-7479

Primary Research Area

  • Biomedical Imaging, Bioengineering, and Acoustics


  • M.D. Medicine Harvard Medical School June 2000
  • Ph.D. Medical and Electrical Engineering Massachusetts Institute of Technology June 1998


Prof. Boppart graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 1990 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an option in Bioengineering. Continuing at UIUC, he completed his M.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1991, where he developed microfabricated multi-electrode arrays for neural recordings. From 1991 to 1993, at the Air Force Laser Laboratory in San Antonio, Texas, he conducted research on laser-tissue interactions in the eye, helping establish national laser safety standards. Prof. Boppart then went on to MIT, receiving his Ph.D. in 1998 in Medical and Electrical Engineering. His doctoral studies included the development of optical coherence tomography in Prof. Jim Fujimoto's laboratory. As part of a joint program between MIT and Harvard, Prof. Boppart completed his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in June 2000. Currently, Prof. Boppart is a full professor with appointments in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Bioengineering, and Medicine at UIUC. He is Head of the Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and along with a team of 25 researchers, is investigating novel optical diagnostic imaging technologies for basic science and translational clinical applications. From 2006-2008, he served as Founding Director of the Mills Breast Cancer Institute, and holds a joint position with Carle Foundation Hospital and Carle Clinic Association in Urbana, Illinois. His efforts included constructing a new building and developing new infrastructure to support translational research and technology development in breast cancer research between UIUC and Carle Foundation Hospital. Currently he is initiating efforts to direct a campus-wide Illinois Imaging Initiative intended to leverage the strengths and diversity of over 100 faculty working in all aspects of imaging science, technology, and application.

Academic Positions

  • Director, Imaging at Illinois; Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 2008-Present
  • Full Professor (50%), Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Research Associate Professor (0%), Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory; Associate Professor (50%), Bioengineering Program; Research Associate Professor (0%), Institute for Genomic Biology; Associate Professor (0%), Neuroscience Program; Research Associate Professor (0%), Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 2008-Present

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Teaching Statement

Prof. Boppart's teaching activities and interests are highly interdisciplinary, following his research activities. Teaching activities cover cross-cutting areas in engineering, medicine, and biology. Courses have included ECE/BioE 414 and 415, Biomedical Instrumentation lecture and laboratory, ECE 460 Optical Imaging, ECE 280 Biomedical Imaging, and ECE 467 Biophotonics. For each of these, courses are taught relating fundamental engineering and scientific principles to real-world applications. Students participate directly with state-of-the-art information exchange by performing literature searches and preparing classroom presentations of journal articles about techniques and technologies discuss in lecture. Concepts are reinforced by use of stimulating discussions centered around clinical scenarios. For example, students in ECE 280 Biomedical Imaging are randomly given a medical beeper than when called for an "emergency", are presented with clinical medical images and scenarios that call on their ability to apply course principles to diagnose technical problems in the imaging data or systems. Students complete these courses having a broad-based knowledge of these subjects, and key tools for further in-depth investigations and advanced study.

Research Statement

My interdisciplinary research group combines the fields of engineering, medicine, and biology to diagnostically assess cells and tissue for disease. Biophotonics, the application of light in medicine, biology, and biotechnology applications, allows us to develop novel technologies to detect disease at early stages, when it is most amenable to treatment. Currently, we are developing optical coherence tomography and multi-photon microscopy, two emerging high-resolution imaging technologies, to investigate bioMEM systems and tumor cell dynamics.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

There is a long history of undergraduate research opportunities in Prof. Boppart's Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory. Over the last 8 years, over 30 undergraduate students have conducted research leading to an undergraduate thesis. Research areas cover aspects of optical imaging and physics, signal and imaging processing, image acquisition systems, biomedical optics and biophotonics, and laser and optical source development. Undergraduate research experiences typically extend over three or more semesters, and result in the completion of an undergraduate thesis and a departmental symposium presentation. Exceptional research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at national conferences.

Research Interests

  • Optical Diagnostics of Cancer
  • Medical Engineering
  • Image-Guided Surgery
  • Optical Coherence Tomography
  • Lasers in Medicine and Biology
  • Optical Biomedical Imaging

Research Areas


  • Paul F. Forman Engineering Excellence Award, Optical Society of America, 2009
  • Fellow, Optical Society of America, 2009
  • Fellow, SPIE - International Optical Society, 2009
  • Special Recognition of Achievement Award for Promotion Dossier Campus Committee on Promotion and Tenure, 2008
  • Visiting Professorship, Raine Medical Research Foundation, 2007-2008
  • Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising, 2006 and 2007
  • IEEE, Elected Senior Member, 2005
  • University of Illinois Alpha Chapter Tau Beta Pi (Engineering Honor Society) Outstanding Alumni Award, 2005
  • IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Early Career Achievement Award, 2005
  • UIUC College of Engineering Young Alumni Achievement Award, 2005
  • Technology Review Magazine's Top 100 Young Innovator in the World, 2002
  • Whitaker Foundation Fellow, 2001
  • Young Faculty Award, American Association of Anatomists, 2001
  • Graduated cum laude, Harvard Medical School, 2000
  • New Focus, Inc. Student Travel Award, 1998
  • American Association of Anatomists Travel Award, 1998
  • Coherent Laser Group Conference Travel Award, 1995
  • Brooks Air Force Base Outstanding Civilian of the Year Armstrong Laboratory, 1992
  • Graduated summa cum laude (Highest Honors), 1990, University of Illinois
  • Norman R. Carson Outstanding Junior Electrical Engineer in the United States, 1989
  • Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Electrical Engineer, 1989, University of Illinois
  • National Society of Professional Engineers Scholar, 1986

Teaching Honors

  • Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising, 2006
  • UIUC College of Engineering Everitt Award for Teaching Excellence, 2003, 2005

Research Honors

  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2004
  • UIUC College of Engineering Xerox Faculty Award for Outstanding Research, 2002
  • Resident Physician Research Award, College of Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, 2001
  • Soma Weiss Research Award, Harvard Medical School, 1999
  • Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Outstanding Armstrong Laboratory, 1992
  • Armstrong Laboratory Director's Award for Excellence, 1991
  • Air Force Scientific Advisory Board's Superior Laboratory at Brooks Air Force Base, 1991
  • E.C. Jordan Award for Bioengineering Research, 1990, University of Illinois

Public Service Honors

  • National 4-H Alumni Award for Illinois, 2008
  • Ironwood Lake Association, Board Member, 2006
  • Volunteer, Children's Science Museum, Exhibit Planning, 2002
  • Judge, Illinois Science Olympiad State Tournament, 2001
  • Judge, Illinois Junior Academy of Sciences, Science Fair, 2001, Regional Science Fair 2003
  • Usher and Volunteer, St. Matthews Catholic Church, Champaign, IL, 2000; Nursery Supervisor, 2002