Graduate student receives JenLab Young Investigator Award

Author: Leslie Lestinsky

Notre Dame graduate student Yide Zhang (middle) receives JenLab Young Investigator Award.

Department of Electrical Engineering (NDEE) graduate student Yide Zhang, advised by professor Scott Howard, was awarded the JenLab Young Investigator Award at the International Society for Optics and Photonics West (SPIE BIOS) conference in San Francisco this month. BIOS is the largest biophotonics, biomedical optics, and imaging conference in the world, receiving thousands of submissions each year.

This award is granted to scientists under the age of 32, researching in the area of multiphoton microscopy. Zhang submitted his paper, Three-Dimensional Deep Tissue Multiphoton Frequency-Domain Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy via Phase Multiplexing and Adaptive Optics. After making it through a poster presentation round and two additional rounds of presentations, he was selected as one of two finalists, gave a final presentation and was awarded first prize.

Zhang reflected on the conference, “I was presenting my works with top-tier researchers from prestigious groups in the field. I did not expect to win this award, it’s very encouraging. Contending for it gave me the opportunity to present my best works and results, while also gaining positive feedback and constructive comments from conference attendees.” Zhang also commented on his advising experience at NDEE, “Professor Howard has always been there to lend helpful advice. I would not have received this award without his guidance and support.”

“Yide is a truly exceptional student that has excelled in every way as a PhD student," said Howard. “It’s exceedingly rare to find a student that made significant contributions in developing new theoretical approaches. He experimentally validated his new approach, designed and built from scratch every aspect of one of the most advanced fluorescent microscopes in the world and collaborated with biomedical researchers to study challenging problems in biology. All while surpassing the theoretical limits to imaging speed, resolution and measurement accuracy.”

Howard also commented on the coming commencement of Zhang’s studies at NDEE, “Yide’s graduation later this year will be bittersweet. We will miss him, but I’m excited to see what he’ll do next. He just accepted a very competitive post-doctoral position at Caltech with Professor Lihong Wang. This is just the start of the good things to come.”

Zhang was presented with the award by professor Ammasi Periasamy, center director of the W.M. Keck Center for Cellular Imaging and professor of Biology and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia, as well as Karsten König, CEO of JenLabs and SPIE Fellow.

Originally published by Leslie Lestinsky at on February 18, 2019.