Hair’s-breadth endoscopes to detect plaque

This coming World Heart Day (29th September 2021), Australian Health Journal’s People in Health Care series, releases a segment on Dr Jiawen Li.

Dr Jiawen Li is an inventor and highly adaptable engineer leading the intravascular imaging program at the Institute of Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS). She has developing an imaging device can be inserted into blood vessels to provide high quality 3D images to help scientists better understand the causes of heart attack and heart disease progression, and could lead to improved treatment and prevention.

Dr Jiawen Li is a Lecturer at School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, The University of Adelaide (UoA). She was a National Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (UoA) from January 2019 to July 2021. She has won numerous prestigious awards and honours (including Superstar of STEM, InDaily’s 40 Under 40 Award, Australian Optical Society Early Career Researcher Prize and Women in Innovation SA Award). She has also secured more than $1.5 million research funding as the lead chief investigator (CIA).

Jiawen received her BS degree in Optical Engineering from Zhejiang University in 2010, and her PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering from University of California Irvine in 2015.

Funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council – NHMRC and National Heart Foundation, Jiawen has started to establish her independent research program since 2018. She is developing ultra thin, flexible, multimodal fibre-optic imaging probes that will enable cross-sectional visualisation of vascular arteries with high resolution, molecular contrast, and sensitivity that are not possible with any other existing technologies. This cutting-edge tool will underpin biological studies to help answer fundamental questions at cellular level of how plaques evolve, how they cause heart attacks, and how they respond to different treatments.


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