Photo of Hu, Ying

Ying Hu

Assistant Professor



2210A SELW, MC 111

Office Phone:

(312) 355-0838


Related Sites:


Hu Group research is divided into Super Resolution Imaging, Nanotechnology and Immunology
The Hu group can image cells below the optical diffraction limit

Novel optics, probes, and algorithms for super-resolution imaging

Super-resolution imaging is revolutionizing sample analysis beyond the diffraction limit of visible light. We take an interdisciplinary approach to further advance super-resolution techniques towards quantitative and live imaging. Recent developments include light sheet microscopy for deep-cell imaging, new fluorescent probes to achieve ultra-high labeling and detection efficiencies, and computational methods that accelerate image acquisition for live cells.

The Hu group can image cells below the optical diffraction limit

Optical reading and writing of receptor-mediated signaling

Immunity is key to long-term responses in checkpoint cancer therapies. While targeting membrane receptors of immune cells has achieved initial clinical success, questions remain regarding why some patients do not respond and what additional pathways we need to target in order to provide long-term survival benefit.  We combine multiplexed super-resolution imaging, single-molecule tracking, and protein engineering to investigate the spatiotemporal coordinate of signaling molecules in nanoscale volumes and their functional relevance in immune responses.  Our goal is to provide molecular-level mechanistic insights to further guide the design of antibody blockade and combination therapy in order to improve the outcome of cancer treatment.

Precision antigen presentation

The Hu group can image cells below the optical diffraction limit

Despite a surge of new opportunities in nanomedicine, discrepancies from reported studies reveal a considerable gap in our understanding of the bio-nano interface. Successful use of nanoparticles to achieve desirable biological outcomes is compounded by the lack of high-resolution optical imaging modalities that directly guide particle design. Here, by combining superresolution and multifunctional plasmonic antigen-presenting nanoparticles (pAPN), the research aims to precisely characterize the molecule distribution on pAPNs and directly reveal bio-nano interactions at the T-cell plasma membrane.

Multiple positions are available. Interested postdocs and graduate students are encouraged to contact Dr. Hu directly by email.


Selected Publications

  1. Y. S. Hu, H. Cang, B. F. Lillemeier, Superresolution imaging reveals nanometer- and micrometer- scale spatial distributions of T cell receptors in lymph nodes, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A., 113(26), 2016.
  2. Y. S. Hu, X. Nan, P. Sengupta, J. Lippincott-Schwartz, and H. Cang, Accelerating 3B single molecule super-resolution microscopy with cloud computing, Nat. Methods, 10(2), 2013.
  3. Y. S. Hu, Q. Zhu, K. Elkins, K. Tse, Y. Li, J. Fitzpatrick, I. M. Verma, and H. Cang, Light-sheet Bayesian microscopy enables deep-cell super-resolution imaging of heterochromatin in live human embryonic cells, Opt. Nanoscopy, 2(7), 2013.
  4. Y. Hu, J. Jeon, T. J. Seok, S. Lee, J. H. Hafner, R. A. Drezek, and H. Choo, Enhanced Raman scattering from nanoparticle-decorated nanocone substrates: a practical approach to harness in-plane excitations, ACS Nano, 4(10), 2010.
  5. Y. Hu, S. J. Noelck, R. A. Drezek, Symmetry breaking in gold-silica-gold multilayer nanoshells, ACS Nano, 4(3), 2010.


BS (summa cum laude), University of Houston, 2006
PhD, Rice University, 2011
Postdoctoral Scholar, California Institute of Technology, 2011-2012
Research Associate, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 2012-2018