Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2016
Home Department: Biophysics

Faculty Advisors: Adam de la Zerda (Structural Biology) and Steven Chu (Physics, Molecular & Cellular Physiology)

Research Title: Trying to reveal cancer cell communication: Creating a molecular acoustic Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) imaging device

Research Description: One of cancer’s greatest mysteries is its ability to learn and adapt. Cancer cells constantly communicate, sending chemical signals to and from the body, sensing their environment and tricking the immune system into not killing them. Unfortunately, our understanding of this communication is limited and there is no imaging device that can reveal this communication in living tissue. Yonatan Winetraub (Biophysics) is working on developing a device to image cancer cell communication (molecular imaging device) by using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to detect contrast agents’ small movement in response to ultrasound waves excitation. He hopes to shed light on the communication processes and possibly open the door to new types of cancer treatments.


Yonatan won the NIH Director’s Early Independence Award in 2021 and started his lab in structural biology department. His lab explores how to detect cancer non-invasively by combining optical coherence tomography and machine learning.