Zhenyu Li

Photo of Zhenyu Li

Zhenyu Li

Associate Professor

Department: Biomedical Engineering


Email: Zhenyu Li
Office Phone: (202) 994-4272
SEH 5590 | Office Hours: R: 1:00 – 3:00 pm

Dr. Zhenyu Li’s current research focuses on the development of novel biosensors and medical devices using micro and nanotechnology, namely microfluidics, MEMS, nanophotonics and flexible electronics. 

His current projects include a handheld automated blood analyzer using microliter blood samples, a wearable ECG sensor on a finger ring, and soft robotics with embedded medical sensors and actuators for automated healthcare delivery.

  • B.S., Tsinghua University, 1999
  • M.S., University of California, 2000
  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2007
  • A. Guan, P Hamilton, Y Wang, M Gorbet, Z.Y. Li, K.S. Phillips, "Medical Devices on Chips", Nature Biomedical Engineering, 1, 0045 2017.
  • A. Guan, Y. Wang, K.S. Phillips, Z.Y. Li, "A contact-lens-on-a-chip companion diagnostic tool for personalized medicine", Lab Chip, 16(7), 1152-1156, 2016.
  • B.C. Li, L. Li, A. Guan, Q. Dong, K.C. Ruan, R.G. Hu, and Z.Y. Li, "A Smartphone Controlled Handheld Microfluidic Liquid Handling System", Lab Chip, 14 (20), 4085 - 4092, Aug. 2014.
  • B. Zhang, Q. Dong, C.E. Korman, Z.Y. Li* and M.E. Zaghloul*, “Flexible packaging of solid-state integrated circuit chips with elastomeric microfluidics”, Sci Rep. 3: 1098, 2013.
  • Guan, A. Shenoy, R. Smith and Z.Y. Li, "Streamline based design guideline for deterministic microfluidic hydrodynamic single cell traps", Biomicrofluidics 9, 024103, Mar. 2015.
  • Y. Wang, A. Guan, I. Isayeva, K. Vorvolakos, S. Das, Z.Y. Li, K.S. Phillips, "Interactions of Staphylococcus aureus with ultrasoft hydrogel biomaterials", Biomaterials, 95, 74-85, 2016.
  • Z.Y. Li, "Optofluidic Resonators and Sensors", Encyclopedia of Nanotechnology, 1-6, 2016.
  • Guan, Z.Y. Li, K.S. Phillips, "The effects of non-ionic polymeric surfactants on the cleaning of biofouled hydrogel materials", Biofouling, 2015.
  • J. Frey*, A. Guan*, Z.Y. Li, S. Turtil, K.S. Phillips, Hemoglobin assay for validation and quality control of medical device reprocessing.  Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Volume 407, Issue 22, pp 6885-6889, September 2015. *Equal Contributions.
  • J. Silver, Z.Y. Li, K. Neuman, "Tethered-Bead Immune Sandwich Assay", Biosensors and Bioelectronics, Volume 63, Pages 117–123, 15 January 2015.
  • Guan, Z.Y. Li, K.S. Phillips, "The Effect of Fluorescent Labels on Protein Sorption in Polymer Hydrogels", Journal of Fluorescence, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 1639-1650, DOI: 10.1007/s10895-014-1450-8, November 2014.
  • N. Kotagiri, Z.Y. Li, X. Xu, S. Mondal, A. Nehorai, and S. Achilefu, "Antibody Quantum Dot Conjugates Developed via Copper-free Click Chemistry for Rapid Analysis of Biological Samples Using a Microfluidic Microsphere Array System," Bioconjugate Chemistry, 25 (7), pp 1272–1281, June 2014.
  • X. Xu, Z.Y. Li, P. Sarder, N. Kotagiri, and A. Nehorai, "Simultaneous detection of multiple targets using optimized microfluidic microsphere-trap arrays," J. Micro/Nanolith. MEMS MOEMS. 13(1), 013017, March 2014.
  • X. Xu, Z.Y. Li, and A. Nehorai, "Finite element simulations of hydrodynamic trapping in microfluidic particle-trap array systems," Biomicrofluidics, vol. 7, 014305, Sep. 2013.
  • B Zhang, Z.Y. Li, CE Korman, ME Zaghloul, "Rectangular CMOS differential MAGFET biosensor for magnetic particle detection", IEEE Transactions on Magnetics,  49 (7), 4052-4055, 2013.
  • X.X. Xu*, P. Sarder*, Z.Y. Li*, and A. Nehorai, "Optimization of microfluidic microsphere-trap arrays", Biomicrofluidics 7, 014112, 2013.

*Equal Contributions 

  • Program Committee Member of SPIE Ultrafast Optical Imaging and Spectroscopy, 2013 - now
  • Program Committee Member of the 3rd European Optical Society Conference on Optofluidics, 2015
  • FDA/CDRH Technical Review Committee (TRC) Member, 2012
  • Session Chair of SPIE Ultrafast Optical Imaging and Spectroscopy Conferences 2014, 2015
  • Session Co-Chair of IEEE Sensors Conference, Taipei, 2012
  • Reviewer of grants submitted to NSF and NIH.
  • Reviewer of conference papers for the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.


Reviewer of manuscripts submitted to following journals

  • Scientific Reports
  • Lab on a Chip
  • Annals of Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomicrofluidics
  • Applied Physics Letters
  • Optics Letters
  • Optics Express
  • IEEE Journal of Sel. Top. Quant. Electron.
  • IEEE Photonics Technology Letters
  • Applied Optics
  • Optics Communications
  • Journal of Applied Physics
  • Sensors and Actuators A
  • AIP Advances



  • Member of BMES
  • Member of OSA
  • Member of SPIE


Extramural Grant Support

  • 2015 - 2019 NIH-NIBIB 1U01EB021986-01, "Ambulatory Sensor Arrays for Real-Life Monitoring of Pediatric Patients with Asthma", Role: PI
  • 2018 - 2019 NSF 1743662, "FDA Scholar-in-residence: On-chip optical biosensing methods for quantitative measurement of antibiotic resistance", Role: PI
  • 2018 - 2019 NSF 1837892, "I-Corps: A Cloud-based Wearable ECG Sensor on a Finger Ring", Role: PI
  • 2018 - 2019 Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, "Microfluidic Devices for Evaluating Tear Deposition on Contact Lenses", Role: PI
  • 2018 - 2022 NSF 1830941, "EFRI CEE: Human cardiac optoepigenetics with HDAC inhibitors – linking chromatin dynamics to electromechanical phenotype", Role: Co-PI


  • Z.Y. Li, D. Psaltis, A. Scherer, Z.Y. Zhang, "Mechanically Tunable Elastomeric Optofluidic Distributed Feedback Dye Laser", US Patent 7,817,698
  • Z.Y. Li. M. Zaghloul, B.W. Zhang, C. Korman,  Flexible IC/Microfluidic Integration and Packaging  US Patent 9,116,145
  • Z.Y. Li, A. Scherer, "Handheld Low Pressure Mechanical Cell Lysis Device with Single Cell Resolution", US Patent Application 20120091235
  • B.C. Li, Z.Y. Li, "Handheld Microfluidic Liquid Handling System", PCT Patent Application
  • J. Silver, Z.Y. Li, K. Neuman, "Tethered-Bead Immune Sandwich Assay", PCT Patent Application (NIH and GW joint application)
  • Z.Y.Li, Q. Dong, M.E. Zaghloul, "Wearable ECG Sensor on a Finger Ring", PCT Patent Application