Contact Information


John A. Viator is Professor and Chair of the Department of 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 the early spread of cancer in human blood in order to improve the management of cancer therapy. He also uses optics to study skin cancer, burn injury, and other diseases and injuries in the fields of dermatology, surgery, and oncology.

Dr. Viator has a BS in physics from the University of Washington in Seattle, an MS in mathematics from the University of Oregon in Eugene, an MS in applied physics from the Oregon Graduate Institute, and a PhD in electrical engineering from Oregon Health & Science University. He retired as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 2007, having been commissioned from the Naval R.O.T.C. unit at the University of Washington. He has served on a guided missile destroyer, with the Military Sealift Command in Operation Desert Shield, and with the Office of Naval Research, among other positions. Dr. Viator has conducted research in a nuclear physics laboratory at the University of Oregon, at the Oregon Medical Laser Center, the Beckman Laser Institute, the Department of Dermatology at Oregon Health & Science University, at the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri, as well as his current position at Duquesne University.

Dr. Viator has over one hundred technical publications in the areas of optics, acoustics, and human health. He is Chief Scientific Officer and Founder of Acousys Biodevices Inc, a company formed to commercialize his photoacoustic technology. He has been issued over twenty patents and has several others pending.

Dr. Viator's research has been supported by awards totaling over $4 million from the National Institutes of Health, Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, the Missouri Life Sciences Research Board, the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, and other agencies.


  • 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

Research Interests or Expertise

  • Photoacoustic sensing
  • Biomedical photonics
  • Laser-tissue interactions