Joseph A. Izatt

Joseph A. Izatt

Michael J. Fitzpatrick Distinguished Professor of Engineering

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.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • 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
  • Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

Contact Information


  • Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1991

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.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

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

Courses Taught

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

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Carrasco-Zevallos, OM; Keller, B; Viehland, C; Shen, L; Waterman, G; Todorich, B; Shieh, C; Hahn, P; Farsiu, S; Kuo, AN; Toth, CA; Izatt, JA, Live volumetric (4D) visualization and guidance of in vivo human ophthalmic surgery with intraoperative optical coherence tomography., Sci Rep, vol 6 (2016) [10.1038/srep31689] [abs].