Steve Adie

Associate Director and Director of Undergraduate Studies
Associate Professor
Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering


Dr. Adie joined Cornell University in 2013 after a postdoc at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His postdoctoral research in optical coherence tomography (OCT) had a few main themes: computational image formation to optimize resolution in volumetric OCT, dynamic optical coherence elastography (OCE) to generate images based on the mechanical properties of tissue, and translational OCT research for image-guided surgery in breast cancer. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from The University of Western Australia. Dr. Adie also worked for several years in the R&D division of a startup company that developed solid-state laser systems for LASIK eye surgery.

Dr. Adie’s research program focuses on the development and application of OCT-based imaging for basic science investigations as well as clinical applications. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an imaging modality capable of 3D label-free imaging of tissue structure and function in vivo. It can be thought of as the optical analogue of ultrasound, although the measurement of ‘optical echoes’ supports much higher resolution. OCT-based instrumentation and imaging techniques are being developed in the Adie Lab to optimize resolution and enhance the contrast of 3D-OCT. This includes methods for optical coherence elastography (OCE) to image the mechanical properties of tissues. OCE provides a high-resolution ‘palpation’ capability by mechanically perturbing a sample and precisely imaging the corresponding displacements. We also explore new image formation paradigms for cellular-resolution volumetric OCT. These efforts exploit computational approaches that are made possible by recognizing that OCT combines the advantages of digital holography with the beam-scanning benefits afforded by confocal microscopy.

Basic science: While much OCT research has focused on clinical applications, the role of OCT in the basic sciences is less developed. This part of the research program aims to exploit the advantages of OCT-based imaging of tissue structure and function to better understand the development and progression of disease. Of particular interest is the application of OCE to study the role of mechanical properties in carcinogenesis. These investigations benefit from multidisciplinary collaborations both within the department and with other researchers at Cornell.

Clinical applications: The label-free non-invasive imaging capabilities of OCT allow for the instrumentation development and basic science research mentioned above to be translated ‘from the bench to the bedside’. This involves the design, construction and deployment of portable systems, as well as the studies to test the sensitivity and specificity of image-based biomarkers for disease diagnosis, or for monitoring response to treatment.

Research Interests

Selected Publications

  • Leartprapun N., Iyer R.R., Untracht G.R., Mulligan J.A. and Adie S.G., “Photonic force optical coherence elastography for three-dimensional mechanical microscopy”, Nature Communications, 9:2079, 2018.
  • Mulligan J.A., François B., Reinhart-King C.A., and Adie S.G. 2017. “Measurement of dynamic cell-induced 3D displacement fields in vitro for traction force optical coherence microscopy”, Biomedical Optics Express, 8 (2): 1152-1171.
  • Shemonski, N D., F A. South, Y Z. Liu, S G. Adie, P. Scott Carney, S A Boppart. 2015.”Computational high-resolution optical imaging of the living human retina.” Nature Photonics 9(7): 440-443.
  • Adie, Steven G., B. W. Graf, A. Ahmad, P. S. Carney, S. A. Boppart. 2012.”Computational adaptive optics for broadband optical interferometric tomography of biological tissue.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA109 (19): 7175-80.
  • Adie, Steven G., X. Liang, B. F. Kennedy, R. John, D. D. Sampson, S. A. Boppart. 2010. “Spectroscopic optical coherence elastography.” Optics Express18(25): 25519-34.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • NIBIB Trailblazer Award
  • NSF CAREER Award 2017
  • Cornell Discovery and Innovation Research Seed Award 2016
  • Hamamatsu Best Paper Award (SPIE Photonics West BIOS 2016 conference) 2016
  • Best poster in the Electronic Devices & Materials category and Overall First Place (awarded to Yuan Yao, collaborative project with Prof. Amit Lal) (Cornell ECE M.Eng Poster Session) 2015
  • Best poster in the Signals and Communications category (awarded to Asher Novick) (Cornell ECE M.Eng Poster Session) 2015


  • B.S. (Chemical Physics, with First Class Honors), The University of Western Australia, 1997
  • Ph.D. (Electrical and Electronic Engineering), The University of Western Australia, 2007