Skip to main content

Yuankai (Kenny) Tao

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering

Intellectual Neighborhoods

Research Focus

Professor Tao's lab develops novel optical imaging systems for clinical diagnostics and therapeutic monitoring in ophthalmology, gastroenterology, and oncology. Biomedical optics enable noninvasive subcellular visualization of tissue morphology, biological dynamics, and disease pathogenesis. Ongoing research focuses on clinical translation of therapeutic tools for image-guided intraoperative feedback using modalities including optical coherence tomography and nonlinear microscopy. 

His lab has also developed optical imaging techniques that exploit intrinsic functional contrast for in vivo monitoring of blood flow and oxygenation as surrogate biomarkers of cellular metabolism and early indicators of disease. Recent projects leverage “big data” to study neovascularization and neural regeneration by developing automated high-throughput imaging technologies for large-scale in vivo combinatorial drug and forward genetics assays in vertebrate animal models. The majority of his research involves multidisciplinary collaborations between investigators in engineering, basic sciences, and medicine.

Institute Affiliation

The Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering (VISE) is an interdisciplinary, trans-institutional entity designed to bring engineers and physicians together to impact healthcare.