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Jonathan T. C. Liu

Faculty Photo

Mechanical Engineering

Adjunct Professor

Adjunct Professor
Laboratory Medicine and Pathology


Jonathan T.C. Liu is a professor of mechanical engineering, bioengineering, and laboratory medicine & pathology at the University of Washington, where his Molecular Biophotonics Laboratory develops high-resolution optical-imaging devices and computational-analysis strategies for guiding treatment decisions.  Dr. Liu received his BSE from Princeton and his PhD from Stanford before becoming a postdoc and instructor in the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford.  Dr. Liu is a co-founder and board member of Alpenglow Biosciences Inc., which has commercialized the non-destructive 3D pathology technologies developed in his lab.  Dr. Liu’s work is funded by the NIH, DoD, NSF, and various foundations.


  • Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2005
  • M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2000
  • BSE in Mechanical Engineering / Engineering Physics, Princeton University, 1999

Previous appointments

  • Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Stony Brook University, 2010-2014
  • Instructor, Stanford University School of Medicine, 2009-2010
  • Postdoc, Stanford University Electrical Engineering and School of Medicine, 2005-2009

Research Statement

Jonathan Liu is director of the Molecular Biophotonics Laboratory, which develops optical-imaging solutions for improved disease management. In particular, we are developing custom optical-sectioning (3D) microscopy devices and computational analysis strategies for early cancer detection, precision medicine (clinical decision support), and surgical guidance. These projects leverage our multidisciplinary expertise in biomedical optics, machine learning, spectroscopy, molecular imaging, mechanical and electrical instrumentation, tissue labeling/clearing, and preclinical/clinical translation.

Select publications

  1. K.W. Bishop, L.A. Erion Barner, Q. Han, E. Baraznenok, L. Lan, C. Poudel, G. Gao, R.B. Serafin, S.S.L. Chow, A.K. Glaser, A. Janowczyk, D. Brenes, H. Huang, D. Miyasato, L.D. True, S. Kang, J.C. Vaughan, and J.T.C. Liu, “An end-to-end workflow for non-destructive 3D pathology,” Nature Protocols [accepted and in press]
  2. L.A. Erion Barner, G. Gao, D.M. Reddi, L. Lan, W. Burke, F. Mahmood, W.M. Grady, and J.T.C. Liu, “AI-triaged 3D pathology to improve detection of esophageal neoplasia while reducing pathologist workloads,” Modern Pathology 36, 100322 (2023)
  3. A.K. Glaser, K.W. Bishop, L.A. Barner, E.A. Susaki, S.I. Kubota, G. Gao, R.B. Serafin, P. Balaram, E. Turschak, P.R. Nicovich, H. Lai, L.A.G. Lucas, Y. Yi, E.K. Nichols, H. Huang, N.P. Reder, J.J. Wilson, R. Sivakumar, E. Shamskhou, C.R. Stoltzfus, X. Wei, A.K. Hempton, M. Pende, P. Murawala, H.U. Dodt, T. Imaizumi, J. Shendure, B.J. Beliveau, M.Y. Gerner, L. Xin, H. Zhao, L.D. True, R.C. Reid, J. Chandrashekar, H.R. Ueda, K. Svoboda, and J.T.C. Liu, “A hybrid open-top light-sheet microscope for multi-scale imaging of cleared tissues,” Nature Methods 19, 613 (2022)
  4. W. Xie, N.P. Reder, C. Koyuncu, P. Leo, S. Hawley, H. Huang, C. Mao, N. Postupna, S. Kang, R. Serafin, G. Gao, Q. Han, K.W. Bishop, L.A. Barner, P. Fu, J.L. Wright, C.D. Keene, J.C. Vaughan, A. Janowczyk, A.K. Glaser, A. Madabhushi, and J.T.C. Liu, “Prostate cancer risk stratification via non-destructive 3D pathology with deep learning-assisted gland analysis,” Cancer Research 82, 334 (2022)
  5. J.T.C. Liu, A.K. Glaser, K. Bera, L.D. True, N.P. Reder, K.W. Eliceiri, and A. Madabhushi, “Harnessing nondestructive 3D pathology,” Nature Biomedical Engineering 5, 203 (2021)
  6. C. Mao, M.Y. Lee, J. Jhan, A.R. Halpern, M.A. Woodworth, A.K. Glaser, T.J. Chozinski, L. Shin, J.W. Pippin, S.J. Shankland, J.T.C. Liu, and J.C. Vaughan, “Feature-rich covalent stains for super-resolution and cleared-tissue fluorescence microscopy,” Science Advances 6, eaba4542 (2020)
  7. A.K. Glaser, N.P. Reder, Y. Chen, C. Yin, L. Wei, S. Kang, L.A. Barner, W. Xie, E.F. McCarty, C. Mao, A.R. Halpern, C.R. Stoltzfus, J.S. Daniels, M.Y. Gerner, P.R. Nicovich, J.C. Vaughan, L.D. True, and J.T.C. Liu, "Multi-immersion open-top light-sheet microscope for high-throughput imaging of cleared tissues," Nature Communications 10, 2781 (2019)
  8. L. Wei, C. Yin, Y. Fujita, N. Sanai, and J.T.C. Liu, "Handheld line-scanned dual-axis confocal microscope with pistoned MEMS actuation for flat-field fluorescence imaging," Opt. Lett. 44, 671 (2019)
  9. Y. Wang, N.P. Reder, S. Kang, A.K. Glaser, Q. Yang, M.A. Wall, S.H. Javid, S.M. Dintzis, and J.T.C. Liu, "Raman-encoded molecular imaging (REMI) with topically applied SERS nanoparticles for intraoperative guidance of lumpectomy," Cancer Research 77, 4506 (2017).
  10. A.K. Glaser, N.P. Reder, Y. Chen, E.F. McCarty, C. Yin, L. Wei, Y. Wang, L.D. True, and J.T.C. Liu, "Light-sheet microscopy for slide-free nondestructive pathology of large clinical specimens," Nature Biomedical Engineering 1, 0084 (2017).

Honors & awards

  • Elected Fellow of Optica (formerly Optical Society of America), 2023
  • UW College of Engineering Team Award (2018), Engineering Innovation in Health (EiH) instructional team: Jonathan Liu, Jonathan Posner, Kat Steele, Eric Seibel
  • Bryan T. McMinn Endowed Professorship in Mechanical Engineering, Univ. of Washington (2016–2020)
  • Outstanding Teacher Award, 12/2013, Stony Brook University
  • K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award, 2009–2014, NIH / NIBIB
  • Canary Foundation / American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellowship award, 2005–2008
  • AIAA Wright Brothers Graduate Award, 2003
  • NSF Graduate Fellowship Award, 1999–2002
  • Tau Beta Pi, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi Book Award, 1999, Princeton University
  • Sau-Hai Lam *58 Prize as the top graduate in mechanical and aerospace engineering, 1999, Princeton University