Meet Our Team
The BIRTLab is part of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Division of Physics & Engineering, and collaborates with various departments at UT Southwestern, as well as outside facilities.
Meet the Principal Investigator
Ken Kang-Hsin Wang, Ph.D., DABR
Ken grew up in Taipei, a bustling metropolis located in northern Taiwan. He received his B.Sc. in physics from the National Central University in Taiwan. His early research focused on theoretical condensed matter physics. He later pursued his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Rochester, NY. He devoted himself to the field of photodynamic therapy for his Ph.D. studies and postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania. After his postdoctoral training, he continued his medical physics residency at the University of Pennsylvania.
In 2012, Ken joined Johns Hopkins Hospital as a senior medical physicist and assistant professor. During his time at Hopkins, he made significant advances in optical tomography-guided radiation therapy for pre-clinical research. In 2020, Ken was recruited to UT Southwestern Medical Center as CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research and faculty in the Department of Radiation Oncology.
Ken enjoys scientific discussions with group members and colleagues. Sometimes, he can throw out many random ideas (be prepared).
Outside of research activities, he likes to hang out with his wife, Jen, and two little boys Caden and Aidan.
Current Lab Members
Zijian Deng, Ph.D.
Zijian came from Guangdong, China. He received his Ph.D. from Peking University in China, and started his postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University, which he then continued at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
His research interests include biomedical optics and image-guided small animal radiation. His current study focuses on developing optical tomography for soft tissue target localization and quantitative imaging in pre-clinical radiation research. In his free time, Zijian enjoys swimming and playing soccer.
Xiangkun Xu, Ph.D.
Xiangkun received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Science and Technology of China. His Ph.D. study is in the field of quantum control and quantum information processing based on nitrogen-vacancy color centers in diamonds.
In 2017, Xiangkun joined the Department of Radiation Oncology and Radiation Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins University as a postdoctoral fellow, where he received professional training in small animal optical imaging and radiation therapy. His research includes developing bioluminescence tomography (BLT) to achieve target volume reconstruction for conformal radiation guidance in vivo. In October 2020, Xiangkun moved with Dr. Ken Wang’s group to the Department of Radiation Oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. His current work focuses on optical system calibration, reconstruction algorithm development, and in vivo experiments to assess the BLT-guided system in preclinical radiation research.
Zhishen Tong, Ph.D.
Zhishen received his Ph.D. in optics from Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2021. His Ph.D. study focused on ghost imaging and sparse signal recovery under the supervision of Dr. Shensheng Han. Later, as a visiting scholar, he worked with Dr. Xin Yuan in the field of snapshot compressive imaging at Westlake University.
In 2021, Zhishen joined the BIRTLab, and his research is focused on developing a computational hyperspectral imaging system and solving ill-posed inverse problems for the quantitatively bioluminescence tomography (QBLT) and cell tracking in vivo. His research interests include computational imaging, biomedical imaging, super-resolution imaging, compressive sensing, and machine learning. In his free time, he likes swimming, hiking, and exercising at the gym.
Banghao Zhou, M.S.
Graduate Student, Biomedical Engineering Program
Banghao received his bachelor's degree in nuclear engineering from Xi'an Jiaotong University and his master's degree in medical physics from Duke Kunshan University. His previous research focused on Monte Carlo simulation and related dosimetric analysis.
In 2021, Banghao enrolled in UTSW's Biomedical Engineering Program - Medical Physics Track and joined the BIRTLab. His current research interests include developing the treatment planning system for ultra-high dose rate (FLASH) radiotherapy and building a small animal mobile CBCT system for pre-clinical study.
Banghao comes from Xi'an, China. He enjoys playing soccer, riding mountain bikes, and doing outdoor activities.
Lixiang Guo, M.S.
Graduate Student, Biomedical Engineering Program
Lixiang came from Henan, China. He received his bachelor’s degree from Lanzhou University and master’s degree from Tsinghua University—both in the field of radiation protection. His previous research focused on ionizing radiation exposure of the Beijing population.
In 2021, Lixiang joined Biomedical Engineering Program – Medical Physics Track and BIRTLab of UT Southwestern. His current research focuses on the mechanism of ultra-high-dose rate (FLASH) radiotherapy and modification of a LINAC into FLASH mode.
During his spare time, he enjoys cooking delicious cuisine and sports, such as swimming.
Ciara was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She received her B.Sc. in biochemistry from Illinois State University in 2020. Her previous research focused on studying the function of an ancient enzyme in a microorganism isolated from the thermal hot springs of Kamchatka, Russia.
In 2021, Ciara joined the Department of Radiation Oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center as research technician in Dr. Benjamin Chen’s laboratory to gain experience in biomedical research. Since then, she has developed a keen interest in pre-clinical radiation research and shortly thereafter joined the BIRTLab. Ciara plans to attend medical school in the near future. In her free time, she enjoys reading, drawing, and nature.