Zhenyu Li

Zhenyu Li

Associate Professor
Address: Science & Engineering Hall
800 22nd St. NW
Phone: 202-994-4272


Professor Zhenyu Li’s research focuses on the innovation of novel biosensors and medical devices using micro and nanotechnology, namely microfluidics, MEMS, nanophotonics and flexible electronics. 

Current Research

Our current projects include a handheld automated blood analyzer using microliter blood samples, a wearable ECG sensor on a finger ring and soft robotics with embedded medical sensors and actuators for automated health care delivery.


Office Hours

  • Tuesday: 4:00 – 6:00 pm


  • B.S., Tsinghua University, 1999
  • M.S., University of California, 2000
  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2007


  • B.C. Li, L. Li, A. Guan, Q. Dong, K.C. Ruan, R.G. Hu, and Z.Y. Li, "A Smartphone Controlled Handheld Microfluidic Liquid Handling System", Lab Chip, 14 (20), 4085 - 4092, Aug. 2014.
  • B. Zhang, Q. Dong, C.E. Korman, Z.Y. Li* and M.E. Zaghloul*, “Flexible packaging of solid-state integrated circuit chips with elastomeric microfluidics”, Sci Rep. 3: 1098, 2013.
  • Guan, A. Shenoy, R. Smith and Z.Y. Li, "Streamline based design guideline for deterministic microfluidic hydrodynamic single cell traps", Biomicrofluidics 9, 024103, Mar. 2015.
  • Guan, Z.Y. Li, K.S. Phillips, "The effects of non-ionic polymeric surfactants on the cleaning of biofouled hydrogel materials", Biofouling, 2015.
  • J. Frey*, A. Guan*, Z.Y. Li, S. Turtil, K.S. Phillips, Hemoglobin assay for validation and quality control of medical device reprocessing.  Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Volume 407, Issue 22, pp 6885-6889, September 2015. *Equal Contributions.
  • J. Silver, Z.Y. Li, K. Neuman, "Tethered-Bead Immune Sandwich Assay", Biosensors and Bioelectronics, Volume 63, Pages 117–123, 15 January 2015.
  • Guan, Z.Y. Li, K.S. Phillips, "The Effect of Fluorescent Labels on Protein Sorption in Polymer Hydrogels", Journal of Fluorescence, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 1639-1650, DOI: 10.1007/s10895-014-1450-8, November 2014.
  • N. Kotagiri, Z.Y. Li, X. Xu, S. Mondal, A. Nehorai, and S. Achilefu, "Antibody Quantum Dot Conjugates Developed via Copper-free Click Chemistry for Rapid Analysis of Biological Samples Using a Microfluidic Microsphere Array System," Bioconjugate Chemistry, 25 (7), pp 1272–1281, June 2014.
  • X. Xu, Z.Y. Li, P. Sarder, N. Kotagiri, and A. Nehorai, "Simultaneous detection of multiple targets using optimized microfluidic microsphere-trap arrays," J. Micro/Nanolith. MEMS MOEMS. 13(1), 013017, March 2014.
  • X. Xu, Z.Y. Li, and A. Nehorai, "Finite element simulations of hydrodynamic trapping in microfluidic particle-trap array systems," Biomicrofluidics, vol. 7, 014305, Sep. 2013.
  • B Zhang, Z.Y. Li, CE Korman, ME Zaghloul, "Rectangular CMOS differential MAGFET biosensor for magnetic particle detection", IEEE Transactions on Magnetics,  49 (7), 4052-4055, 2013.
  • X.X. Xu*, P. Sarder*, Z.Y. Li*, and A. Nehorai, "Optimization of microfluidic microsphere-trap arrays", Biomicrofluidics 7, 014112, 2013.  *Equal Contributions 

Recent Extramural Grant Support

  • NIH/NIBIB, U01, “Ambulatory Sensor Arrays for Real-Life Monitoring of Pediatric Patients with Asthma”, 09/2015 to 09/2019
  • NIH/NIAAA, R41, “Wearable Lab-on-a-patch for Non-invasive Alcohol Sensing in Sweat”, 09/2015 to 06/2016
  • Virginia CRCF Matching Fund, “A Wireless Wearable Electrocardiogram Sensor on a Finger Ring”, 07/2015 to 06/2016


  • Z.Y. Li, D. Psaltis, A. Scherer, Z.Y. Zhang, "Mechanically Tunable Elastomeric Optofluidic Distributed Feedback Dye Laser", US Patent 7,817,698
  • Z.Y. Li. M. Zaghloul, B.W. Zhang, C. Korman,  Flexible IC/Microfluidic Integration and Packaging  US Patent 9,116,145
  • Z.Y. Li, A. Scherer, "Handheld Low Pressure Mechanical Cell Lysis Device with Single Cell Resolution", US Patent Application 20120091235
  • B.C. Li, Z.Y. Li, "Handheld Microfluidic Liquid Handling System", PCT Patent Application
  • J. Silver, Z.Y. Li, K. Neuman, "Tethered-Bead Immune Sandwich Assay", PCT Patent Application (NIH and GW joint application)
  • Z.Y.Li, Q. Dong, M.E. Zaghloul, "Wearable ECG Sensor on a Finger Ring", PCT Patent Application


  • Program Committee Member of the 3rd European Optical Society Conference on Optofluidics, 2015
  • Program Committee Member of SPIE Ultrafast Optical Imaging and Spectroscopy 2013, 2014, 2015
  • FDA/CDRH Technical Review Committee (TRC) Member, 2012
  • Session Chair of SPIE Ultrafast Optical Imaging and Spectroscopy Conferences 2014, 2015
  • Session Co-Chair of IEEE Sensors Conference, Taipei, 2012
  • Reviewer of grants submitted to NSF.
  • Reviewer of conference papers for the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.

Reviewer of manuscripts submitted to the following journals

  • Scientific Reports
  • Lab on a Chip
  • Annals of Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomicrofluidics
  • Applied Physics Letters
  • Optics Letters
  • Optics Express
  • IEEE Journal of Sel. Top. Quant. Electron.
  • IEEE Photonics Technology Letters
  • Applied Optics
  • Optics Communications
  • Journal of Applied Physics
  • Sensors and Actuators A
  • AIP Advances


  • Member of OSA
  • Member of SPIE