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Dr. John A. Viator is Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duquesne University. He conducts research in biomedical optics, the area of science and engineering that covers the use of lasers and light to improve human health. He is particularly interested in using photoacoustics, or laser induced ultrasound, to diagnose medical problems. He is using photoacoustics to detect and identify pathological analytes in body fluids. He also uses optics to study skin cancer, burn injury, and other diseases and injuries in dermatology, surgery, oncology, and other fields of medicine.

Dr. Viator earned degrees in Physics, Mathematics, and Applied Physics before completing a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering, establishing himself as a top expert in biomedical engineering.


  • NIH Post Doctoral Fellow, Dermatology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, 2003-2004
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Biomedical Engineering, Beckman Laser Institute, University of California, Irvine, California, 2000-2003
  • Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, Oregon Health & Science University, 2001
  • M.S., Mathematics, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, 1993
  • B.S., Physics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 1985

Areas Of Expertise

  • Photoacoustic sensing
  • Biomedical photonics
  • Laser-tissue interactions


Profile Information


  1. R.E. Edgar, A.P. Samson, T. Kocsis, J.A. Viator. “Photoacoustic flow cytometry using functionalized microspheres for the selective detection of bacteria”, Micromachines (2023)
  2. R.H. Edgar, A.P. Samson, V. Jhanji, R.P. Kowalski, J.A. Kellum, J.A. Viator. “Differentiating methicillin resistant and susceptible Staphylococcus aureus from ocular infections using photoacoustics labeling”, Frontiers in Medicine, (2023)
  3. R.H. Edgar, A.P. Samson, J. Cook, M. Douglas, K. Urish, J. Kellum, J. Hempel, J.A. Viator. “Photoacoustic discrimination of antibiotic resistant and sensitive Staph. aureus isolates”, Laser. Surg. Med. (2021)
  4. R.H. Edgar, A. Tarhini, C. Sander, M.E. Sanders, J.A. Viator. “Predicting Metastasis in Melanoma by Enumerating Circulating Tumor Cells” Laser. Surg. Med. (2021)
  5. J.A. Viator, M. Hazur, A.N. Sajewski, A. Tarhini, M.E. Sanders, R.H. Edgar. “Photoa- coustic detection of circulating melanoma cells in late stage patients” J. Innov. Opt. Health Sci. (2020)
  6. R.H. Edgar, J. Cook, C. Noel, A. Minard, A. Sajewski, M. Fitzpatrick, R. Fernandez, J.D. Hempel, J.A. Kellum, J.A. Viator. “Bacteriophage-mediated identification of bacteria using photoacoustic flow cytometry,” J. Biomed. Opt. 24(11), 115003 (2019)
  7. A. Colbert, S. Cavanaugh, J.A. Viator, M.E. Glasgow. “The Nurse-Engineer collabora- tion: Improving nurse technology interface and patient care device innovations ”, J. Nursing Scholar. 50(6) 601-611 (2018)
  8. J.R. Allen, K.D. Bhattacharyya, E.A. Asante, B. Almadi, K. Schafer, J. Davis, J. Cox, M. Voigt, J.A. Viator, A. Chandrasekhar. “Role Of Branchiomotor Neurons In Controlling Food Intake Of Zebrafish Larvae ”, J. Neurogenetics (2017)
  9. K.D. Bhattacharyya, B.S. Goldschmidt, M. Njoroge, J.A. Viator. “Detection and capture of breast cancer cells with photoacoustic flow cytometry”, J. Biomed. Opt. 21(8), 087007 (2016)
  10. B.S. Goldschmidt, A.M. Rudy, C.A. Nowak, D.P. Macoubrie, J.A. Viator, H.K. Hunt. “Characterization of MgF2 thin films using quantum tunneling photoacoustic spectroscopy”, J. Opt. Laser Tech. 73 (2015)
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