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Dr Puxiang Lai
Open Platform for University Scholars

Dr Puxiang Lai

Associate Professor

Exploits light and sound to probe and treat biological tissues


Dr. Puxiang Lai received his Bachelor from Tsinghua University in 2002, Master from Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2005, and PhD from Boston University in 2011. After that, he joined Dr. Lihong Wang’s lab in Washington University in St. Louis as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. In September 2015, he joined Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as a tenure-track Assistant Professor.

Dr. Lai’s research focuses on the synergy of light and sound as well as its applications in biomedicine, such as wavefront shaping, photoacoustic imaging, acousto-optic imaging, and computational optical imaging. His research has fueled more than 40 top journal publications, such as Nature Photonics, Nature Communications, and Advanced Sciences. He has two USA/world patents, and has been invited to give more than 50 seminars or invited talks. Since 2015, his research has been continuously supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), Hong Kong Research Grant Council (RGC), Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC), Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province, and Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission (STIC), with allocated budget of more than 14 million Hong Kong dollars.

He was awarded the 12th Chinese National 1000 Talent Plan Youth Scholar, the 2016-2017 Hong Kong RGC Early Career Award, the 2018 Hong Kong Polytechnic University Faculty of Engineering Research Grant Achievement Award, and the 2019 PolyU K.C. Wong Belt and Road Visiting Fellowship Award. As a recognition for his contribution to the field, currently Puxiang serves as Associate Editor of Journal of Visual Computing for Industry, Biomedicine, and Art (VCIBA), Guest Editor of Journal of Innovative Optics in Health and Science (JIOHS), Committee Member of the Biomedical Optics Panel in the Chinese Society of Biomedical Engineering, and Member of the Medical Instrument Judging Panel in the Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission.

Research Interests

  • Optical wavefront shaping
  • Photoacoustic/optoacoustic imaging
  • Adaptive optics
  • Optical microscopy
  • Digital holography
  • Artificial intelligence

Academic and Professional Experiences

  • Assistant Professor (tenure-track), Biophotonics Lab, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR, China, Sep 2015 – current
  • Associate Professor, Hong Kong Polytechnic University Shenzhen Research Institute, Shenzhen, China, Jan 2017 – Current
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Optical Imaging Laboratory, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, USA , Jul 2010 – Aug 2015
  • Graduate Research Assistant (Ph.D.), Physical Acoustics Lab, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Boston University, USA, Sep 2005 – Jun 2010
  • Graduate Research Assistant (M.S.) , Institute of Acoustics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, Sep 2002 – Jul 2005

Research Outputs

[ ] represents equal contribution, # represents corresponding authorship.

  1. [P. Lai, L. Wang, J. W. Tay], and L. V. Wang, "Photoacoustically guided wavefront shaping (PAWS) for enhanced optical focusing in scattering media," Nature Photonics 9, 126-132 (2015).
  2. [Y. Liu, P. Lai], C. Ma, X. Xu, A. Grabar, and L. V. Wang, "Optical focusing deep inside dynamic scattering media with near-infrared time-reversed ultrasonically encoded (TRUE) light," Nature Communications 6:5904 (2015).
  3. Y. Liu, H. Liu, H. Yan, Y. Liu, J. Zhang, W. Shan, P. Lai, H. Li, L. Ren, Z. Li, and L. Nie, "Aggregation-Induced Absorption Enhancement for Deep Near-Infrared II Photoacoustic Imaging of Brain Gliomas In Vivo," Advanced Science 6, 1801615 (2019).
  4. Huanhao Li, Fei Cao, Yingying Zhou, Zhipeng Yu, and Puxiang Lai#, "Interferometry-free noncontact photoacoustic detection method based on speckle correlation change", Optics Letters 44(22), 5481-5484 (2019).
  5. Yingying Zhou, Jianbo Chen, Mingsheng Li, Puxiang Lai#, and Lidai Wang#, "Single-shot linear dichroism optical-resolution photoacoustic microscopy", Photoacoustics 16, 100148 (2019)
  6. [Zihao Li, Zhipeng Yu, Hui Hui], Huanhao Li, Tianting Zhong, Honglin Liu, and Puxiang Lai#, "Edge enhancement through scattering media enabled by optical wavefront shaping", Photonics Research 8(6), 954 (2020)
  7. [Yingying Zhou, Fei Cao], Huanhao Li, Xiazi Huang, Dongshan Wei, Lidai Wang#, and Puxiang Lai#, "Photoacoustic imaging of microenvironmental changes in facial cupping therapy", Biomedical Optics Express 11(5), 2394-2401 (2020).
  8. Yingying Zhou, Siyi Liang, Mingsheng Li, Jianbo Chen, Chengbo Liu, Puxiang Lai#, and Lidai Wang#, "Optical-resolution photoacoustic microscopy with ultrafast dual-wavelength excitation", Journal of Biophotonics, e201960229 (2020).
  9. [Xiazi Huang, Wenting Shang], Han Deng, Yingying Zhou, Fei Cao, Chihua Fang, Puxiang Lai#, and Jie Tian#, "Clothing Spiny Nanoprobes against the Mononuclear Phagocyte System Clearance in vivo: Photoacoustic Diagnosis and Photothermal Treatment of Early Stage Liver Cancer with Erythrocyte Membrane-Camouflaged Gold Nanostars", Applied Materials Today 18, 100484 (2020).
  10. [Yunqi Luo, Suxia Yan, Huanhao Li], Puxiang Lai#, and Yuanjin Zheng#, "Focusing light through scattering media by reinforced hybrid algorithms", APL Photonics 5(1), 016109 (2020)
  1. "Deep-Tissue Optical Focusing towards in vivo by Fast Photoacoustically guided Wavefront Shaping (PAWS)", 2017-2020, 918,597 HKD, Hong Kong Research Grant Council (RGC), Early Career Scheme (ECS), No. 25204416, Hong Kong, July 2016 (PI)
  2. "Noninvasive high-resolution optical focusing in deep living biological tissue and its applications", 2017-2020, 580,000 RMB, National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), General Scheme(面上項目), No. 81671726, China, July 2016 (PI)
  3. "Development and application of small-animal whole-body high-speed photoacoustic molecular imaging instrument", 2017-2021, 6,350,000 RMB, National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), National Key Instrumentation Development Scheme(國家重大科研儀器研製項目), No. 81627805, China, July 2016 (Co-PI; budget 1/3 allocated to me)
  4. "Photoacoustic Molecular Imaging of Osteoarthritic Pain - A Proof-of-Concept Study", 2016-2018, 755,898.20 HKD, Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF), Research Fellowship Scheme, No. 01150087, Hong Kong, 2016 (Co-I)
  5. "Multi-mode fiber-based fast wavefront shaping and its pilot applications in biomedical imaging and sensing", 2018-2020, 500,000 RMB, Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission, Shenzhen Basic Research Funding Scheme (基礎研究-自由探索項目) No. JCYJ20170818104421564, Shenzhen, China, 2018 (PI)
  6. "Development of Aggregation Induced Emission-Boosted Adaptive Optical Microscopy for Enhanced Molecular Imaging", 2019-2020, 1,353,550 HKD, Innovation and Technology Support Program, Tier 3 Scheme, No. ITS/022/18, Hong Kong, 2018 (PI)
  7. "Multiscale photoacoustic molecular imaging for early diagnosis of brain glioma", 2020-2024, 2,970,000 RMB, National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), Key Research Scheme (重點項目), No. 81930048, China, July 2019 (PI)
  8. "Optical focusing through multimode fibers based on reflection mode transmission matrix and its perspectives in biomedicine",2019-2021, 100,000 RMB, Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province (廣東省科學技術廳), General Scheme(面上項目), No. 2019A1515011374, China, October 2019 (PI)
  9. "Optical Fiber Biomedical Sensing and Imaging Technologies(光纤生物医学传感及成像技术)", 2020-2025, 20,000,000 RMB (10% allocated to me), Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province (廣東省科學技術廳), Local Innovative and Research Teams Project of Guangdong Pearl River Talents Program(廣東特支計劃"本土創新創業團隊項目), No. 2019BT02X105, China, January 2020 (Co-PI; budget 10% allocated to me)
  10. "Forward-looking intravascular photoacoustic/ultrasound imaging technology for the assessment and guidance of cardiovascular chronic total occlusion intervention", 2020-2024, 6,179,000 HKD, Hong Kong Research Grant Council (RGC), Research Impact Fund (RIF), No. R5029-19, Hong Kong, March 2020 (Co-PI; budget 11.6% allocated to me)
  11. (Secured) "Multiscale photoacoustic imaging for small animal myocardial microcirculation evaluation", 2021-2022, 2,110,500 HKD, Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC),Innovation and Technology Fund - Guangdong-Hong Kong Technology Cooperation Funding Scheme (ITF-TCFS), No. GHP/043/19SZ, Hong Kong, September 2020 (PI)
  12. (Secured) "Fiber-based small animal head-mounted photoacoustic microscopy", 2021-2023, 1,969,150 HKD, Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC), Innovation and Technology Fund - Guangdong-Hong Kong Technology Cooperation Funding Scheme (ITF-TCFS), No. GHP/044/19GD, October 2020 (PI)

Esteem Measures

Selected awards

  • The Faculty Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research, Aug 2020
  • K.C. Wong Belt and Road Visiting Fellowship Scheme, Dec 2019
  • Ten Thousand People’s Scheme, Jan 2019
  • Research Grant Achievement Award, Mar 2018
  • Hong Kong RGC Early Career Award, Oct 2016
  • 12th National 1000 Talent Plan Youth Scholar, Jan 2016

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