Elizabeth M.C. Hillman

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

351 Engineering Terrace (Office: 406 CEPSR)
1210 Amsterdam Avenue, Mail Code: 8904
New York, NY 10027

Phone: +1 212-854-2788
Fax: +1 212-854-8725
Email: eh2245@columbia.edu

Research Areas:

2D and 3D optical imaging, development and application of new optical imaging technologies, microscopy and spectroscopy, in vivo function and physiology, brain, cardiac and dermal and molecular imaging.

Laboratory for Functioal Optical Imaging


  • 1998: B.Sc. & M.Sc. Physics, University College London, London, UK
  • 2002: Ph.D. Medical Physics and Bioengineering, University College London, London, UK

Academic positions

  • 2005-6: Instructor, Massachusetts General Hospital (Radiology), Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 
  • 2006-2011 : Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • 2006-2011 : Assistant Professor, Radiology, Columbia Presbyterian, New York, NY
  • 2008- : Mentor, Columbia University Graduate Program in Neurobiology and Behavior
  • 2011- : Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY
  • 2011- : Associate Professor, Radiology, Columbia Presbyterian, New York, NY

Professional and Research positions

  • 2002-3: Manager of In Vivo Spectroscopy, Argose Inc., Waltham, MA
  • 2003-5: Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging (Radiology), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

Professional affiliations

  • Optical Society of America (OSA)
  • The International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE)
  • Society for Neuroscience (SFN)
  • International Society for Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism (ISCBFM)

Honors and Awards

  • Wood and Oliver Lodge undergraduate awards from University College London (1994-8)
  • Wellcome Trust Prize Studentship, Ph.D. Fellowship (1998-2002)
  • Wallace H Coulter Foundation Early Career Award (2006)
  • Human Frontier of Science Program Young Investigator Award (2007)
  • OSA BIOMED 2008 Program Chair
  • Rodriguez Junior Faculty Award, Columbia SEAS (2008).
  • 2008-11 Chair of Tissue Imaging and Spectroscopy Technical Group, Optical Society of America (OSA)
  • OSA BIOMED 2010 Program Chair
  • ECI 'Advances in Optics for Biotechnology, Medicine and Surgery XI' Chair 2011
  • NSF CAREER Award
  • Kavli Institute for Neuroscience at Columbia University Member
  • Adolph Lomb Medal, Optical Society of America award for contributions to optics under age 35

Outstanding Short Paper Award, Rank Prize Fund symposium on applications of fast low-level light detection (2000) , Poster Award, Gordon Research Conference: Lasers in Medicine and Biology 2000, Travel Awards for OSA BIOMED 2000, 2006, Gordon Conference LMB 2000, SPIE Photonics West 2001, Gordon Conference (Brain blood flow and metabolism) 2004, Brain'05 2005.

Grant review and editorial service

  • NIH: ZEB1 OSR-A M1 S: "New Ways to Image Neural Activity" 2006
  • NIH: ZRG1 BST-M (50) R: "Nanotechnology" 2007
  • NIH: BMIT: "Biomedical Imaging Technology" 2007
  • NIH: SBMI : "Small Business Medical Imaging" 2009
  • NIH: ZEB1 OSR-C(J2), NIBIB R13 conference grant panel 2011
  • NIH: NCRR P41 Site Visit 2011
  • NIH: NIDA Cutting-Edge Basic Research Awards R21 panel.
  • L'Agence Nationale de la Recherche, France 2008-9
  • Brain Peer Review Committee, the American Heart Association 2009
  • Associate Editor, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Annual Meeting 2008-
  • Special Issue Editor, Applied Optics: "Topics in Biomedical Optics 2008"
  • Review Editor, Frontiers in Neuroenergetics Journal 2008-
  • Topical Editor, Applied Optics 2009-
  • Special Issue Editor, Biomedical Optics Express 2010
  • Associate Editor, Biomedical Optics Express 2010-

Conference service

  • Program Committee Member, SPIE Optics East 2005 & 2006 Optical Methods in Drug Discovery and Development
  • Session Chair (Optics in Neuroscience) and Program Committee Member for National Institute of Health Fifth Inter-Institute Workshop on Optical Diagnostic Imaging from Bench to Bedside, 2006
  • Session Chair (Imaging brain function and disease), Lasers in Medicine and Biology Gordon Conference 2006)
  • OSA BIOMED 2008 Program Chair: "Diffuse optical imaging and tomography"
  • Co-Chair of World Molecular Imaging Congress 2008 session: "New Optical Instrumentation".
  • 2008-11 Chair of Tissue Imaging and Spectroscopy Technical Group, Optical Society of America (OSA).
  • Program Committee member, 2008 IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (LEOS) Annual Meeting.
  • Program Committee member, 2009 European Conference on Biomedical Optics.
  • Program Committee member, 2009 ‘Neurons and Photons’ conference at SPIE Photonics West.
  • Session Track Co-Chair, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology: “Neural Engineering”
  • Session Chair, "In vivo optical imaging of animal disease models", Engineering Conferences International 2009.
  • Session Chair "Brain" and Program Committee for SPIE NIH Inter-Institute Workshop on Optical Diagnostic and Biophotonic Methods from Bench to Bedside, 2009.
  • OSA BIOMED 2010 Program Chair: "Biological and Drug Discovery Imaging"
  • Co-Chair, 2010 Royal Society Conference "Making light work: Illuminating the future of biomedical optics"
  • Chair of 2011 Engineering Conferences International "Advances in Optics for Biotechnology, Medicine and Surgery XI" meeting.
  • World Molecular Imaging Conference 2011 "Optical Methods" Chair 

Grant Support

  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), PI: R21 & R01
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, PI
  • National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute (NHLBI), subcontract Co-PI
  • National Cancer Institute (NCI), imaging core
  • National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and BioEngineering (NIBIB), Phase I SBIR.
  • Wallace H. Coulter Foundation (Young Investigator), PI
  • Human Frontier Science Program Grant, PI
  • DARPA Phase I SBIR


  • Qiu J, Baik AD, Lu L, Hillman EMC, Zhuang Z, Dong C, Guo XE, “Theoretical Analysis of Novel Quasi-3D Microscopy of Cell Deformation”, Cel. Mol. Bioeng. (in press) 2012.
  • Hillman EMC, Elson DS, Bigio IJ, Levenson RM, So PTC, “Advances in optics for biotechnology, medicine and surgery”, Biomed. Opt. Expr, 3 (3), pp. 531-532 (2012)
  • Hillman EMC, Amoozegar CB, Wang T, McCaslin AFH, Bouchard MB, Mansfield JR, Levenson RM, “In-vivo optical imaging and dynamic contrast methods for biomedical research” Phil. Trans. Royal Soc A. 369 (1955), 4620-4643 (2011).
  • Chen L, Chan TH, Choyke PL, Hillman EMC, Bhu-jwalla ZM, Chi CY, Wang G, Szabo Z, Wang, Y, “A Signal Deconvolution Tool for In Vivo Dynamic Contrast-enhanced Imaging of Complex Tissues”, Bioinformatics, in press (2011).
  • Grosberg LE, Radosevich AJ, Asfaha S, Yang X, Wang TJ, Hillman EMC, "Spectral characterization and unmixing of intrinsic contrast in intact normal and diseased gastric tissues using hyperspectral two-photon microscopy" PlosOne, 6(5): e19925(2011). 
  • McCaslin AFH, Chen BR, Radosevich AJ, Cauli B, Hillman EMC,"In-vivo 3D morphology of astrocyte-vasculature interactions in the somatosensory cortex: implications for neurovascular coupling", J Cereb Blood Flow Metab, 31, 795-806 (2011). (Feature Article and Cover)
  • Chen BR, Bouchard MB, McCaslin AFH, Burgess SA, Hillman EMC, "High-speed vascular dynamics of the hemodynamic response", Neuroimage, 54 (2), 1021-1030 (2011).
  • Baik AD, Lu XL, Qiu J, Huo B, Hillman EMC, Dong C, Guo XE, "Quasi-3D Cytoskeletal Dynamics of Osteocytes under Fluid Flow", Biophys J. 99 (9), 2812-2820 (2010).
  • Taber KH, Hillman EMC, Hurley RA, "Optical Imaging: A New Window to the Adult Brain", Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 22 (4), 357-360 (2010). (cover)
  • Nordstrom RJ, Almutairi A, Hillman EMC, "Feature Issue Introduction: Bio-Optics in Clinical Applications, Nanotechnology, and Drug Discovery", Biomed Opt Expr, 1 (3), 746-747 (2010).
  • Burgess SA, Ratner D, Chen BR, Hillman EMC, "Fiber-Optic and Articulating Arm Implementations of Laminar Optical Tomography for Clinical Applications" Biomed Opt Expr, 1 (3), 780-790, (2010).
  • Sun R, Bouchard MB, Hillman EMC "SPLASSH: Open source software for camera-based high-speed, multispectral in-vivo optical image acquisition" Biomed Opt Expr , 1 (2), 385-397 (2010).
  • Tian P, Teng IC, May LD, Kurz R, Lu K, Scadeng M, Hillman EMC, De Crespigny AJ, D'Arceuil HE, Mandeville JB, Marota JJA, Rosen BR, Liu TT, Boas DA, Buxton R, Dale AM, Devor A, "Cortical depth-specific microvascular dilation underlies laminar differences in BOLD fMRI response", PNAS, 107 (34), 15246-15251 (2010).
  • Culver JP, Drexler W, Drezek RA, Georgakoudi I, Hillman EMC, Richards-Kortum R, "Topics in Biomedical Optics: introduction to the feature issue", Appl. Opt, 48 (10), TBO1-TBO2
  • Sirotin Y. B, Hillman E. M. C, Bordier C, Das A. "Spatiotemporal precision and hemodynamic mechanism of optical point-spreads in alert primates", PNAS 106, 18390-18395, (2009).
  • Burgess S. A and Hillman E. M. C, "Laminar Optical Tomography", Chapter in 'Handbook of Biomedical Optics'. Eds: Boas DA, Pitris C, Ramanujam N (Taylor & Francis). in press (2009)
  • Bouchard M. B., Chen B. R, Burgess S. A, Hillman E. M. C, "Ultra-fast multispectral optical imaging of cortical oxygenation, blood flow and intracellular calcium dynamics", Optics Express, 17 (18), 15670-15678, (2009).
  • Yuan B, Burgess SA, Iranmahboob AK, Bouchard MB, Lehrer N, Bordier C, Hillman EMC, "System for rapid, simultaneous, high resolution, depth-resolved fluorescence and absorption optical imaging", Rev. Sci. Instrum. 80, 043706-1 (2009).
  • Karagiannis A, Gallopin T, David C, Battaglia D, Geoffroy H, Rossier J, Hillman E.M.C, Staiger J, Cauli B. “Classification of NPY-expressing neocortical interneurons", J. Neurosci, 1791(6):467-73 (2009)
  • Blaner WS, O’Byrne SM, Wongsiriroj N, Kluwe J, D’Ambrosio D, Jiang H, Schwabe RF, Hillman E.M.C, Piantedosi R, Libien J. “Hepatic Stellate Cell Lipid Droplets: A Specialized Lipid Droplet for Retinoid Storage”, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1791(6):467-73 (2009).
  • Hillman E. M. C, Burgess S. A. "Sub-millimeter Resolution 3D Optical Imaging of Living Tissue using Laminar Optical Tomography", Laser & Photonics Reviews, 3 (1-2), 159-180, (2009).
  • Devor A, Hillman E. M. C, Tian P, Waeber C, Teng I. C, Ruvinskaya S, Shalinsky M, Zhu H, Haslinger R, Narayanan S, Ulbert I, Dunn A. K, Lo E, Rosen B. R, Dale A. M, Kleinfeld D, Boas D. A, “Stimulus-induced changes in blood flow and 2-deoxyglucose uptake dissociate in ipsilateral somatosensory cortex", J. Neurosci, 28: 14347-14357 (2008).
  • Burgess S. A, Bouchard M. B, Yuan B, Hillman E. M. C. "Simultaneous Multi-Wavelength Laminar Optical Tomography", Optics Letters, 33 (22), 2710-2712 (2008).
  • Radosevich A. J, Bouchard M. B, Burgess S. A, Chen B. R, Hillman E. M. C. "Hyper-spectral in-vivo two-photon microscopy of intrinsic contrast", Optics Letters, 33 (18), 2164-2166, (2008).
  • Hillman E. M. C. and Moore A. "All-optical anatomical coregistration for small animal molecular imaging using dynamic contrast", Nature Photonics, 1 (9): 526-530 (2007).
  • Hillman E. M. C, Bernus O, Pease E, Bouchard M. B. Pertsov A. “Depth-resolved optical imaging of transmural electrical propagation in perfused heart”, Optics Express, 15 (26), 17827-17841, (2007).
  • Hillman E. M. C. “Optical Brain Imaging In-vivo: Techniques and Applications from Animal to Man”,J Biomed Opt12(5), 051402 (2007). *Also selected to appear in the “Virtual Journal of Biological Physics Research”
  • Hillman E. M. C., Devor A., Bouchard M. B., Dunn A. K., Krauss G. W., Skoch J., Bacskai B. J., Dale A. M., Boas D. A. “Depth-resolved Optical Imaging and Microscopy of Vascular Compartment Dynamics During Somatosensory Stimulation”, NeuroImage, 35(1): 89-104 (2007).
  • Devor A, Tian P, Nishimura N, Teng IC, Hillman E M C, Narayanan S N, Ulbert I, Boas D A, Kleinfeld D, Dale A M. “Suppressed neuronal activity and concurrent arteriolar vasoconstriction may explain negative BOLD”, J Neurosci, 27(16): 4452-4459. (2007).
  • Custo A., Wells W. M., Barnett A. H., Hillman E. M. C., Boas D. A. "Effective Scattering Coefficient of the Cerebral Spinal Fluid in Adult Head Models for Diffuse Optical Imaging", Appl Opt. 44 (11): 2082-2093 (2006).
  • Zhang Q., Brukilacchio T. J., Li A., Stott J. J., Chaves T., Hillman E. M. C., Wu T., Chorlton M. A., Rafferty E., Moore R. H., Kopans D. B., Boas D. A. "Co-registered Tomographic X-ray and Optical Breast Imaging: Initial Results", J Biomed Opt, 10(2), 024033-1-9 (2005).
  • Corlu A., Choe R., Durduran T., Lee K., Schweiger M., Arridge S. R., Hillman E. M. C., Yodh A. G. "Diffuse optical tomography with spectral constraints and wavelength optimization", Appl Opt, 44(11), 2082-2093 (2005).
  • Li A., Boverman G., Zhang Y., Brooks D., Miller E. L., Kilmer M. E., Zhang Q., Hillman E. M. C., Boas D. A. "An optimal linear inverse solution given multiple priors in diffuse optical tomography", Appl Opt, 44(10), 1948-1956 (2005).
  • Hillman, E. M. C., Boas, D. A., Dale, A. M., Dunn, A. K. "Laminar Optical Tomography: demonstration of millimeter-scale depth-resolved imaging in turbid media", Optics Letters, 29, (14), 1650-1652 (2004).
  • Hillman, E. M. C. "Optical tomography", Book chapter in 'Optics Encyclopedia', Wiley-VCH. (Released December 2003).
  • Corlu, A., Durduran, T., Choe, R., Schweiger, M., Hillman, E. M. C., Arridge, S. R. Yodh, A. G. "Uniqueness and wavelength optimization in continuous-wave multispectral diffuse optical tomography", Optics Letters, 28, 23, 2339-2341 (2003).
  • Hebden, J. C., Gonzalez, F. M., Gibson, A., Hillman, E. M. C., Yusof, R., Everdell, N., Delpy, D. T., Zaccanti, G., and Martelli, F. "Assessment of an in situ temporal calibration method for time-resolved optical tomography", J Biomed Opt 8, 87-92 (2003).
  • Hebden, J. C., Gibson, A., Yusof, R., Everdell, N., Hillman, E. M. C., Delpy, D. T., Arridge, S. R., Austin, T., Meek, J. H., Wyatt, J. S. "Three-dimensional optical tomography of the premature infant brain", Phys. Med. Biol , 47, 23, 4155-4166 (2002).
  • Hebden, J. C., Veenstra, H., Dehghani, H., Hillman, E. M. C., Schweiger, M., Arridge, S. R., and Delpy, D. T. "Three dimensional time-resolved optical tomography of a conical breast phantom", Applied Optics 40 19, 3278-3287 (2001).
  • Hillman, E. M. C., Hebden, J. C., Schweiger, M., Dehghani, H., Schmidt, F. E. W., Delpy, D. T., Arridge, S. R. "Time Resolved Optical Tomography of the Human Forearm", Phys. Med. Biol, 46, 4, 1117-1130 (2001).
  • Hillman, E. M. C., Hebden, J. C., Schmidt, F. E. W., Arridge, S.R., Schweiger, M., Dehghani, H., Delpy, D.T. "Calibration techniques and datatype extraction for time-resolved optical tomography", Rev Sci Instrum, 71, 9, 3415-3427 (2000).
  • Schmidt, F. E. W., Hebden, J. C., Hillman, E. M. C., Fry, M. E., Schweiger, M., Delpy, D. T. "Multiple slice imaging of a tissue-equivalent phantom using time-resolved optical tomography", Applied Optics 39, 19, 3380-3387 (2000).
  • Arridge, S. R., Hebden, J. C., Schweiger, M., Schmidt, F. E. W., Fry, M. E., Hillman, E. M. C., Dehghani, H. "A method for 3D time-resolved optical tomography". J. Imaging. Syst. Technol, 11, 2-11 (2000).
  • Schmidt, F. E. W., Fry, M. E., Hillman, E. M. C., Hebden, J. C., and Delpy, D.T. "A 32-channel time-resolved instrument for medical optical tomography", Rev. Sci. Instrum 71, 1, 256-265 (2000).
  • Hebden, J. C., Schmidt, F. E. W., Fry, M. E., Schweiger, M., Hillman, E. M. C., Delpy, D. T., and Arridge, S. R. "Simultaneous reconstruction of absorption and scattering images using multi-channel measurement of purely temporal data", Optics Letters, 24, 8, 534-536. (1999).
  • Elwell, C. E., Springett, R., Hillman, E. M. C., Delpy, D.T. "Oscillations in Cerebral Haemodynamics – Implications for Functional Activation Studies". Adv. Exp Med & Biol 471, 57-65 (1999).

2D and 3D optical imaging, development and application of new optical imaging technologies, microscopy and spectroscopy, in vivo function and physiology, brain, cardiac and dermal and molecular imaging.

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