By Jessica Colarossi

Professor Ji-Xin Cheng (ECE, BME, MSE) is Boston University’s 2022 Innovator of the Year, BU Vice President and Associate Provost for Research announced on May 1.

Cheng, who is also the Moustakas Chair Professor in Photonics and Optoelectronics, can boast a long list of trailblazing achievements, including inventing a way to use blue light and hydrogen peroxide to treat a drug-resistant skin infection called MRSA, finding molecular signatures associated with aggressive cancers for treatment and diagnosis, and creating novel imaging techniques using infrared light to see molecules inside living cells. His specialty is bond-selective imaging, which allows scientists to see cells on the molecular level without injecting a visible dye (dye particles are larger than molecules, interfering with their chemical makeup). He recently received funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to develop a new dye-free technique, called bond-selective intensity diffraction tomography, which can produce a three-dimensional map of a specific chemical inside cells. This has the potential to help scientists unlock knowledge for treating diseases, from cancer to Alzheimer’s.

With more than 30 patents and multiple companies to his name, “I have been keeping BU’s Technology Development office very busy,” Cheng says.

Read the full Q&A with Ji-Xin Cheng on BU’s The Brink.