Joseph A. Izatt

Biomedical Engineering

Chair of Biomedical Engineering

Joseph A. Izatt Profile Photo
Joseph A. Izatt Profile Photo

Research Interests

Biomedical optics and spectroscopy, coherence-based imaging and microscopy, novel instrumentation for minimally invasive medical diagnostics, and real-time image-guided robotic microsurgery.


My research centers on the development and application of cutting-edge optical technologies for non-invasive, high-resolution imaging and sensing in living biological tissues. Our laboratory is recognized for foundational contributions to optical coherence-based approaches for in vivo sub-surface microscopic tissue imaging, particularly optical coherence tomography (OCT) which has become a standard of care in ophthalmology and other clinical specialties. The technologies we employ include adaptive-optic devices, femtosecond lasers, ultrabroadband fiber optic telecommunications equipment, robots and robotic manipulators, high performance computing, and 3D display technologies. Together with our collaborators, we have developed and deployed multiple hand-held and intrasurgical systems for real-time volumetric imaging of the human eye, visualized using virtual/augmented reality displays and coupled to image-guided robotic microsurgical procedures. Our research team includes a rich and diverse group of highly motivated and productive undergraduate, MS and PhD students, staff and associated faculty along with multiple collaborations with engineers, biologists, and physicians at Duke and elsewhere.


  • Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1991


  • Michael J. Fitzpatrick Distinguished Professor of Engineering
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor in Ophthalmology
  • Core Faculty in Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Stephen D. Fantone Distinguished Service Award. Optica (formerly OSA). 2022
  • Fellow. National Academy of Inventors. 2017
  • Graduate Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring. Duke University. 2017
  • Fellow (NAI). National Academy of Inventors. 2017
  • Fellow. Optical Society of America. 2009
  • Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising. Pratt School of Engineering. 2008
  • Fellow. International Society for Optics and Photonics. 2008
  • Fellow. American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. 2007

Courses Taught

  • BME 436L: Biophotonic Instrumentation (DR)
  • BME 493: Projects in Biomedical Engineering (GE)
  • BME 671L: Signal Processing and Applied Mathematics
  • BME 789: Internship in Biomedical Engineering
  • BME 791: Graduate Independent Study
  • BME 792: Continuation of Graduate Independent Study
  • ECE 493: Projects in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • ECE 494: Projects in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • ECE 899: Special Readings in Electrical Engineering