Yongxin (Leon) Zhao
Associate Investigator, Non-Resident Member

Carnegie Mellon University

Ph.D. in Chemistry. Bioengineer and chemist. B.Sc. in Chemistry. Sun Yat-Sen University, China; Ph.D. in Chemistry. University of Alberta, Canada (2009-2014); Postdoctoral Associate in Media Arts and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2014-2017); Currently, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University (2017 - present). Dr. Zhao is Eberly Family Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at CMU

Prof. Zhao is a chemist by training and a biomedical engineer skilled in many fields of engineering and science, ranging from protein engineering to chemistry to optics. He is the key inventor of genetically encoded calcium ion indicators including the first red indicator (Science 2011), as well as genetically encoded voltage indicators (Nature Methods 2014; Nature Communication 2014; Nature 2019). Both tools have been distributed and used by thousands of labs worldwide. In addition, Prof. Zhao co-pioneered a transformative imaging tool, called Expansion Pathology (ExPath. Nature Biotechnology 2017; Nature Protocols 2020), which enables nanoscale imaging of paraffin-embedded, hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained, and/or other biopsy samples of human tissues with up to 70 nm resolution. The mission of his lab is to develop and apply new tools to establish biomolecule atlas of the brain, tumor, and other complex biological systems and interrogate the biological mechanisms, fostering new discovery, new diagnosis, and therapeutics in the long term. Currently, his lab is developing a suite of tools that enable 3-D, nanoscale, and highly multiplex molecular spatial profiling in large biological systems.

Prof. Zhao’s work has been recognized by various honors and awards, including NIH Director’s New Innovator Award; MIT Translational Fellow; Governor General Academic Gold Medal (Canada); Lap-Chee Tsui Publication Award in Biomedical Research; Alberta Ingenuity Graduate Scholarship in Nanotechnology.