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Welcome to the COOL lab at Oregon Health & Science University. We are dedicated to the advancement of biomedical imaging techniques in order to improve the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases.

COOL Lab Latest News

David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., receives National Medal for Technology and Innovation from President Biden

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President Joe Biden on October 24th honored Dr. David Huang, our COOL-Lab director and research director of Casey Eye Institute, with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The president placed medals around the necks of Dr. Huang and two collaborators, James Fujimoto and Eric Swanson, both from MIT, in recognition of their invention of OCT. OCT has transformed the way eye disease is diagnosed and managed. It enables ophthalmologists and optometrists to identify vision-threatening diseases early, often before patients experience symptoms.

David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., receives Lasker Award and joins National Academy of Engineering for transformative imaging technology

Dr. David Huang received a 2023 Lasker Award at a gala ceremony in New York City on Friday 29 September and was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering at a ceremony in Washington, DC on Sunday 1 October 2023. Dr. Huang co-invented optical coherence tomography, or OCT, that routinely helps prevent blindness and is increasingly used to diagnose and treat many other conditions. He was the first author of the first article that established this transformative medical innovation back in 1991 when he was a 27-year-old M.D./Ph.D. student at Harvard/MIT. This article has since been cited more than 17,000 times, which ranks #13 in the history of the prestigious journal Science. He continues to advance and refine OCT at our Center for Ophthalmic Optics and Lasers, part of the Casey Eye Institute. He completes an elite trio of Laskers at OHSU: Dr. Albert Starr, 2007, and Dr. Brian Druker, 2009.
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The Career Innovation Excellence Award is presented to an OHSU employee who, over the course of their career, has shown themselves to be an accomplished inventor and entrepreneur, demonstrated a true passion for innovation, been successful in engaging and cultivating partnerships with industry, and worked tirelessly to translate their discoveries into solutions for realworld problems and the benefit of society. 

Yali Jia, Ph.D., is a pioneer of optical coherence tomographic angiography, and has been included as a contributor on over 30 new technology disclosures submitted to OHSU Technology Transfer. These new methods for detecting structural and vascular abnormalities in the eye have led to 15 issued patents, several of which have been licensed to leading optical coherence tomography manufacturers for further development. Jia’s achievements and success in innovation have been widely recognized both within and outside the OHSU community. In 2021, Jia was the recipient of an OCTRI Biomedical Innovation Program grant, and in 2018 she was named New Inventor of the Year by OHSU Technology Transfer. Jia has also been inducted as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors.

*Yan Li, PhD, was awarded as a Principal Investigator of non-clinical industry sponsored research.

*Ou Tan, PhD, was inducted into the OHSU Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors.

*Yukun Guo, Yan Li, Yali Jia, and David Huang were awarded as Inventors of issued US Patents. 

OHSU physician-scientist elected to National Academy of Engineering

David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., recognized for co-creating widely used medical imaging technology


























An ophthalmologist and research engineer at Oregon Health & Science University has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering in recognition for co-inventing a medical imaging technology that is commonly used to diagnose and guide treatment for the leading causes of blindness.

David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., is among 124 new members who have been elected to the academy, which is among the highest professional distinctions for engineers. He is believed to be the first OHSU representative to become an elected National Academy of Engineering member.

Huang co-invented optical coherence tomography, or OCT, which is used in about 30 million imaging procedures annually. The technology is used to diagnose macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, and also helps physicians decide how to best treat patients with blindness-causing disease. It is also increasingly used to evaluate treatments for neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.

Huang has been widely recognized for co-inventing OCT in 1991, when he was an M.D./Ph.D. student at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The National Academy of Engineering previously recognized Huang in 2017, when it awarded him the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize. His other honors include an António Champalimaud Vision Award, the largest scientific and humanitarian prize in vision research, and a Visionary Prize from the Sanford and Susan Greenberg Prize to End Blindness.

As an ophthalmologist, Huang specializes in cornea and refractive surgery. He is a professor of ophthalmology and biomedical engineering in the OHSU School of Medicine, and is the inaugural holder of the Wold Family Endowed Chair in Ophthalmic Imaging. Huang serves as the associate director and the director of research of the OHSU Casey Eye Institute. He also leads the OHSU Center for Ophthalmic Optics and Lasers, which focuses on diagnostic imaging and therapeutic laser applications. Huang joined OHSU in 2010.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from MIT, and a combined M.D./Ph.D. degree from the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology. He completed ophthalmology residency training at the University of Southern California’s Doheny Eye Institute and cornea fellowship training at Emory University.


David Huang, M.D., Ph.D., is among 124 new members who have been elected to the academy, which is among the highest professional distinctions for engineers. He is believed to be the first OHSU representative to become an elected National Academy of Engineering member. (Courtesy of Scott Areman)

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Yifan Jian Receives BrightFocus Foundation Macular Degeneration Research Award

Yifan Jian will receive a BrightFocus foundation award for his proposal, entitled "Mapping of Photoreceptor Nuclear Layer Using Volumetric Directional OCT: Applications in Age-Related Macular Degeneration" this July. His proposal was accepted by Vision Science's Review Committee after the completion of a very competitive review process. 

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The mission of the Center for Ophthalmic Optics and Lasers (COOL) is to conserve, improve and restore vision through advances in laser and optical technology.


The Center for Ophthalmic Optics and Lasers (COOL) at the Casey Eye Institute, Oregon Health & Science University is an interdisciplinary research center that focuses on improving the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases through advances in laser and optical technology.  David Huang, MD, PhD, director of the COOL Lab, is a co-inventor of optical coherence tomography (OCT), which has become the most frequently used ophthalmic imaging procedure since 2003.   The COOL Lab has pioneered many advances in ophthalmic OCT.  In the anterior eye, COOL Lab researchers developed methods to map and measure the cornea, anterior chamber, angle, and lens and continues to lead the field in this area.  This technology is now widely used to diagnose early keratoconus, narrow-angle glaucoma, ocular surface tumors, plan phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK), and calculate intraocular lens power in patients with previous LASIK or other keratorefractive surgery. In the posterior segment, COOL Lab led the multi-center Advanced Imaging for Glaucoma bioengineering partnership,  

which was responsible for developing ganglion cell complex mapping for glaucoma evaluation, Doppler OCT to measure total retinal blood flow, and the first clinical investigation using OCT angiography.   COOL Lab researchers developed a very efficient OCT angiography algorithm called “split-spectrum amplitude decorrelation angiography” (SSADA), which made the first commercial clinical OCT angiography system possible. COOL Lab researchers are actively improving OCT angiography and applying it to the evaluation and management of age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, inherited retinal degenerations, and ocular tumors.  On the treatment side, the COOL lab is investigating the optimal technique for combining corneal collagen crosslinking and PTK for the treatment of keratoconus and is developing a laser thermal conjunctivoplasty device provides a safe, gentle, and fast healing procedure to treat conjunctivochalasis in an ophthalmologist’s office.  The interdisciplinary team is able to perform interdisciplinary research from developing hardware (ultrahigh-speed OCT, laser surgical instrumentation), advancing signal and image processing algorithms, optimizing novel laser surgical techniques, conducting pilot clinical studies, to organizing large multi-site clinical studies.   The COOL Lab also supports the Casey Reading Center with advanced OCT and OCT angiography reading software that can be used in a wide variety of clinical studies in retinal and optic nerve diseases.

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