Chenfei Hu, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Tissue Microenvironment Program, 2020 Cohort

What does your educational path look like?

I received my bachelor’s degree in Optics from Tianjin University (China) in 2014. I completed my MS degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Duke University in 2016, and I expect to get a Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UIUC in summer 2021.

What sparked your interest in science / technology / cancer research?

The show the Big Bang Theory! When I was in college, I used this show to learn English. By continually watching the show, again and again, I picked up the accent and also discovered my craving for knowledge and passion for science and technology.

 How has being in the TiMe program helped you grow?

The TiMe program has provided a platform to reach out to grad students and colleagues with very different skillsets. Our monthly meetup exposes me to different research topics and ideas.

What kind of research are you working on? What is something that most people might not know about your work?

I am building advanced microscope systems. My techniques can show 3D structures of the samples in great detail, but they do not require excessive preparation

What is your favorite part about working with your lab?

First of all, building optical imaging systems is like playing Lego. Which is a lot of fun. Secondly, I enjoy working with my diverse and cross-disciplinary lab mates.

Have you had any interesting / unexpected breakthroughs or discoveries?

I developed Harmonic Optical Tomography, as a new method to measure nonlinear structures
in 3D. We have an article published in Nature Photonics, and it was widely reported by scientific media.

What sort of impact will your research have on society?

Advanced optical imaging methods allows us to see samples with great details, and they are very important for diagnosis, understanding biological dynamics, quality inspections, and many other applications.

What is your favorite project that have you worked on in the past?

My favorite part is developing new imaging modalities from concept to prototype.

What does the future look like for you / your lab?

My goal is to find an R&D related roles in an imaging related industry

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? 

I enjoy traveling to new places. So far, I have been to 8 different countries

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I knew I would do something related to engineering. My mom is a chemical engineer, and my dad is an electrical engineer. Engineering is in my family blood.