Zhu named Edwin H. Murty Professor of Engineering

Quing Zhu develops imaging techniques to detect cancers

Beth Miller 
Quing Zhu

Quing Zhu, a renowned biomedical engineer who has developed advanced imaging techniques to diagnose cancers of the reproductive system and in other areas, has been named the Edwin H. Murty Professor of Engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis.

Zhu’s passion is in women’s health — specifically, to advance cancer diagnosis and treatment prediction. Her research interests focus on multi-modality photoacoustic, diffuse optical tomography, ultrasound, optical coherence tomography, and structured light imaging techniques for cancer detection, diagnosis and treatment assessment and prediction.

“Fundamental to Quing’s work is that she integrates across modalities,” said Aaron Bobick, dean and the James M. McKelvey Professor. “She combines ultrasound, photoacoustic and optical sensing with deep learning to better assess the status of tissues and to detect and characterize cancers. She also is one of the founders of our women’s health engineering initiative that is focusing on several of the understudied areas in women’s health, including cancers of the reproductive system from both the engineering and medical research perspectives. We are pleased to recognize Professor Zhu’s accomplishments with the Murty Professorship.”

Zhu has pioneered the combination of ultrasound and near infrared (NIR) diffuse light imaging technology to accurately diagnose breast cancers, to assess and predict treatment outcomes of advanced breast cancers. In addition, Zhu, her team and collaborators at the School of Medicine have developed co-registered ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging techniques for accurate diagnosis of ovarian masses and for earlier ovarian cancer assessment of high-risk patients with genetic mutations. Recently, Zhu’s team and her collaborators at the School of Medicine, where she is a senior leadership member of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, have investigated co-registered photoacoustic microscopy and ultrasound, optical coherence tomography for colorectal cancer diagnosis and for predicting treatment response for rectal cancer. Zhu and her team have explored various machine learning methods to accurately diagnose cancers and guide surgical planning. 

Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Defense. She has been named a Fellow of Optical Society of American (OSA), a Fellow of SPIE- International Society for Optics and Photonics and a Fellow of AIMBE - The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.  

Zhu earned a doctorate in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. She  joined WashU in 2016 from the University of Connecticut as a full professor. Zhu is an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Oncology, a Topical Editor of Optics Letters, and an editorial board member of Photoacoustic and Biomedical Optics. 

About Edwin H. Murty

Murty was a radio engineer and manufacturer’s representative for several electronics engineering firms who attended classes at Washington University in the 1940s. 

After graduating from high school, Murty attended the Capital Radio Engineering Institute in Washington, D.C., then worked in various electronic engineering capacities with companies, such as the Bendix Radio and Continental Radio and Television Corp. in Chicago; the Federal Communications Commission in Portland, Ore., and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash.

The Missouri native later worked as a manager with the Kay Sales Co. and as a representative for Continental Carbon Inc. and Lavoie Labs until his retirement in the early 1970s. After he retired, he focused on his investments. 

In 1999, Murty established the professorship in appreciation of his relationship with the departments of Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, he wrote in a letter to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. In the late 1980s, he endowed the Edwin H. and Margaret K. Murty Scholarship in the Engineering school. He died in 2002.

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