Brett Bouma

Affiliate Faculty
Phone: (617) 726-9007
Lab Phone: (617) 726-9007
address: MGH, BAR 814, 40 Blossom Street, Boston, MA 02114
Administrative Assistant: Petronella Bodo
assistant phone: (617) 726-1580
assistant email:

Brett Bouma

Affiliate Faculty


  • Professor of Dermatology and Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School
  • Physicist, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Director, Center for Biomedical OCT Research and Translation


Dr. Bouma studied physics and math as an undergraduate at Hope College and pursued nuclear physics, starting graduate studies at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University before changing course to atomic and molecular physics and conducting his dissertation research in the high intensity ultraviolet laser facility at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to joining the faculty of Harvard Medical School, he was a Research Scientist at MIT. He has published over 230 manuscripts that have collectively accumulated over 53,000 citations, reflecting an h-index of 67 (Web of Science) and 106 (Google Scholar). Dr. Bouma’s research has led to over 300 issued/allowed patents, with over 100 additional patent applications pending. Many of his patents have been licensed to four different companies, resulting in 5 distinct medical devices on the market. In addition, he serves on the scientific advisory boards of several companies.


  • Ph.D. in Physics, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • M.S. in Physics, Michigan State University
  • B.S. in Physics, Hope College

selected awards/societies

  • Fellow, Optical Society of America, 2007
  • Edward M. Kennedy Award for Health Care Innovation, 2004

Research Interests

My research has focused on novel technologies for disease diagnosis and treatment and has spanned from early innovation through development and validation and into clinical applications. Instruments that I have invented and developed have been applied in clinical studies of cervical cancer, bladder cancer, coronary atherosclerosis, laryngeal pathology, dermatologic lesions, colonic and esophageal cancer, and diseases of the common bile duct and pancreas. Since my years as a post-doctoral fellow and research scientist at MIT, I have focused a sustained effort toward the development of optical coherence tomography (OCT) and I am internationally recognized for important contributions that have made this technology a clinical reality. My specific contributions in this area include the invention of many of the core component technologies that are now in widespread use, the first clinical demonstrations of OCT in numerous clinical applications, and the validation of OCT protocols for, in particular, the diagnosis of esophageal cancer and its precursors and the detection and characterization of coronary artery pathology.

Selected Publications

  • W.C. Lo, M. Villiger, A. Golberg, G.F. Broelsch, S. Khan, C.G. Lian, W.G. Austen, M. Yarmush, B.E. Bouma. “Longitudinal, 3D In Vivo Imaging of Collagen Remodeling in Murine Hypertrophic Scars using Polarization-sensitive Optical Frequency Domain Imaging.” J Invest Dermatol (2015).
  • B.J. Vakoc, D. Fukumura, R.K. Jain, B.E. Bouma. “Cancer imaging by optical coherence tomography: preclinical progress and clinical potential.” Nat Rev Cancer (2012).
  • G.J. Tearney and B.E. Bouma. “Shedding Light on Bioabsorbable Stent Struts Seen by Optical Coherence Tomography in the ABSORB Trial.” Circulation 122.22 (2010): 2234-5.
  • B.J. Vakoc, R.M. Lanning, J.A. Tyrrell, T.P. Padera, L.A. Bartlett, T. Stylianopoulos, L.L. Munn, G.J. Tearney, D. Fukumura, R.K. Jain, B.E. Bouma. “Three-dimensional microscopy of the tumor microenvironment in vivo using optical frequency domain imaging.” Nature Medicine 15.10 (2009): 1219-24.
  • B.E. Bouma, S.H. Yun, B.J. Vakoc, M.J. Suter, G.J. Tearney. “Fourier-domain optical coherence tomography: recent advances toward clinical utility.” Current Opinion in Biotechnology 20 (2009): 111-8.
  • B.J. Vakoc, M. Shishkov, S.H. Yun, W.Y. Oh, M.J. Suter, A.E. Desjardins, J.A. Evans, N.S. Nishioka, G.J. Tearney, B.E. Bouma. “Comprehensive esophageal microscopy using frequency-domain imaging.” Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 65.6 (2007): 898-905.
  • S.H. Yun, G.J. Tearney, B.J. Vakoc, M. Shishkov, R. Yelin, W.Y. Oh, A. Desjardins, R.C. Chan, D. Yelin, J.A. Evans, I.K. Jang, N.S. Nishioka, J.F. de Boer, B.E. Bouma. “Comprehensive volumetric optical microscopy in vivo.” Nature Medicine 12.12 (2006): 1429-33.
  • I.K. Jang, G.J. Tearney, B.M. MacNeill, M. Takano, F. Moselewski, N. Iftimia, M. Shishkov, S.L. Houser, H.T. Aretz, E.F. Halpern, B.E. Bouma. “In Vivo Characterization of Coronary Atherosclerotic Plaque using Optical Coherence Tomography.” Circulation 111.12 (2005): 1551-55.
  • S.H. Yun, G.J. Tearney, J.F. de Boer, N. Iftimia, B.E. Bouma. “High-speed optical frequency-domain imaging.” Optics Express 11.22 (2003): 2953-63.
  • J.F. de Boer, B. Cense, B.H. Park, M.C. Pierce, G.J. Tearney, B.E. Bouma. “Improved signal-to-noise ratio in spectral-domain compared with time-domain optical coherence tomography.” Opt Lett 28.21 (2003): 2067-9.

A full list of Professor Bouma’s publications can be found on Pubmed.