Scarcelli, Giuliano

Assistant Professor
Fischell Department of Bioengineering
A. James Clark School of Engineering
2218 Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building

Proper visual function is dependent on the mechanical balance between corneal strength and intraocular pressure as well as the mechanical balance between intraocular muscles and crystalline lens stiffness. Loss of corneal strength can drive corneal ectasia and is a major risk factor for refractive surgery. Traditional ophthalmic imaging tools have no way of probing corneal biomechanics. Based on Brillouin imaging, we develop optical probes that can measure changes in tissue elasticity by progression of disease, or in response to treatment and drugs. Using our novel imaging devices both ex vivo and in vivo in the clinic, we are now developing biomechanics-based metrics to improve diagnosis and prognosis of keratoconus, to screen at-risk subjects for post-LASIK ectasia, and to monitor the effects of corneal collagen crosslinking. Regarding the crystalline lens, every person beyond the age of 50 experiences severe decline of accommodation, leading to presbyopia. The age-related stiffening of the lens is believed to play a primary role in the decrease of accommodation power. We study the 3D biomechanical properties of the aging lens to understand the biomechanical and bio-optical principles governing accommodation.

General Research Interests: 

The Optics Biotech Laboratory studies optics and photonics to devise novel technology for biological research and clinical medicine. In particular, we focus on imaging modalities able to map properties that are difficult or impossible to measure with traditional techniques but with important biomedical applications. Our research covers all stages of the translational spectrum: we study what light is and how it interacts with cells, tissue and biomaterials; we develop advanced optical technology and build new instrumentation; and, we use our instruments for biological research and in clinical trials.


Giuliano Scarcelli is a physicist specialized in optical science and technology development. He obtained his PhD in quantum optics from UMBC under Prof. Yanhua Shih. Before joining College Park, Giuliano was at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine of Harvard Medical School for eight years, first as a postdoc in Prof. Yun's Lab, then as an instructor and assistant professor. He maintains a visiting faculty position at Harvard Medical School.  Giuliano's articles have been cited over a 1000 times and he is inventor of five patents. Giuliano has been the recipient of several awards such as the “Exceptional by example” award for outstanding PhD studies, the Tosteson Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Human Frontier Science Program Young Investigator Award, the NIH Quantitative Career Award, and the Harvard University “Teaching excellence” award.