Faculty Directory
Vadim Backman

Walter Dill Scott Professor of Biomedical Engineering


2170 Campus Drive
Silverman Hall 3627
Evanston, IL 60208-2850

Email Vadim Backman


Backman Laboratory


Biomedical Engineering


PhD Program in Applied Physics

PhD Program in Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences

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Ph.D. Medical Engineering and Medical Physics, Harvard University - MIT, Cambridge, MA

M.S. Physics, MIT, Cambridge, MA

M.S. Physics, St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia

B.S. Physics (Hons), St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia

Research Interests

Physical genomics, chromatin engineering, superresolution optical nanoscopy, genome nanoimaging, visible optical coherence tomography, new technologies for cancer diagnosis and therapeutics; cancer biomarkers

Selected Publications


    R.K.A. Virk, W. Wu, L. M. Almassalha, G. M. Wodarcyk, Y. Li, D. VanDerway, J. Frederick, D. Zhang, A. Eshein, H. K. Roy, I. Szleifer, and V. Backman, “Disordered chromatin packing regulates phenotypic plasticity”, Science Advances, 6(2) doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax6232 (2020).

    K. Huang, Y. Li, A.R. Shim, R.J. Nap, V. Agrawal, R.K.A. Virk, A. Eshein, L.M. Almassalha, V. Backman and I. Szleifer, “Physical and data structure of 3D genome”, Science Advances, 6(2), doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aay4055 (2020).

    A. Eid, A. Eshein, Y. Li, R. Virk, D. VanDerway, A. Taflove and V. Backman, “Characterizing chromatin packing scaling in whole nuclei using interferometric microscopy”, Optics Letters, 45(17), 4810 - 4813 (2020).

    Shim, A.R., Nap, R.J., Huang, K., Almassalha, L.M., Matusda, H., Backman, V. & Szleifer, I. Dynamic Crowding Regulates Transcription. Biophysical Journal 118, 2117-2129 (2020).

    G. Spicer, A. Eid, D. Wangpraseurt, T. Swain, J. Winkelmann, J. Yi, M. Kuhl, L. Marcelino, V. Backman, “Measuring light scattering and absorption in corals with Inverse Spectroscopic Optical Coherence Tomography (ISOCT): a new tool for non-invasive monitoring”, Scientific Reports, 9:14148 doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-50658-3 (2019).

    S. Gladstein, L.M. Almassalha, L. Cherkezyan, J.E. Chandler, A. Eshein, A. Eid, D. Zhang, W. Wu, G.M. Bauer, A.D. Stephens, S. Morochnik, H. Subramanian, J.F. Marko, G.A. Ameer, I. Szleifer, and V. Backman, “Multimodal interferometric imaging of nanoscale structure and macromolecular motion uncovers UV induced cellular paroxysm”, Nature Communications, 10:1652 (2019).

    J.A. Winkelmann, G. Spicer, A. Eid, L.M. Almassalha, T.Q. Nguyen, and V. Backman, “Spectral contrast optical coherence tomography angiography enables single-scan vessel imaging”, Light: Science and Applications, 8(7) doi: 10.1038/s41377-018-0117-7 (2019).

    A. Eshein, Y. Li, B. Dong, L. Almassalha, J. Chandler, T.Q. Nguyen, K. Hujsak, V. Dravid, C. Sun, H.F. Zhang and V. Backman, “Sub-10nm imaging of nucleic acids using spectroscopic intrinsic-contrast photon-localization optical nanoscopy (SICLON)”, Optics Letters, 43(23) 5817-5820 (2018).

    R. Liu, J.A. Winkelmann, G. Spicer, Y. Zhu, A. Eid, G.A. Ameer, V. Backman, and J. Yi, “Single capillary oximetry and pericapillary ultrastructural sensing by dual-band dual-scan inverse spectroscopic optical coherence tomography”, Light: Science and Applications, 7(57) DOI 10.1038/s41377-018-0057-2 (2018).

    R. Kalman, A. Stawarz, D. Nunes, D. Zhang, M. Delacruz, R. Wali, H. Subramanian, V. Backman, H.K. Roy, “Biophotonic detection of high order chromatin alterations in field carcinogenesis predicts risk of future hepatocellular carcinoma: a pilot study”, PLOS One, 13(5):e0197427 (2018).

    L.M. Almassalha, G.M. Bauer, W. Wu, L. Cherkezyan, D. Zhang, A. Kendra, S. Gladstein, J.E. Chandler, D. VanDerway, B. Seagle, A. Ugolkov, D.D. Billadeau, T.V. O’Halloran, A.P. Mazar, H.K. Roy, I. Szleifer, S. Shahabi, and V. Backman, “Macrogenomic engineering via modulation of the scaling of chromatin packing density”, Nature Biomedical Engineering, 1(11) 902-913 (2017).

    L.M. Almassalha, G.M. Bauer, J. Chandler, S. Gladstein, L. Cherkezyan, Y. Stypula-Cyrus, S. Weinberg, D. Zhang, P. Thusgaard Ruhoff, H. Roy, H. Subramanian, N. Chandel, I. Szleifer, V. Backman, “Label-free imaging of the native, living cellular nano-architecture using partial-wave spectroscopic microscopy”, PNAS, 113(42) E6372-E6381 (2016).

    B. Dong, L. Almassalha, Y. Stypula-Cyrus, B.E. Urban, T.Q. Nguyen, C. Sun, H.F. Zhang, and V. Backman, “Super-resolution intrinsic fluorescence imaging of chromatin using native, unmodified nucleic acids for contrast”, PNAS, 113(35), 9716-9721 (2016).

    B. Dong, L. Almassalha, B.E. Urban, T.Q. Nguyen, S. Khuon, T.L. Chew, V. Backman, C. Sun, H.F. Zhang, “Super-resolution spectroscopic microscopy via photon localization”, Nature Communications, 7:12290 doi: 10.1038/ncomms12290 (2016).