Faculty Directory
Vadim Backman

Walter Dill Scott Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Contact

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

Email Vadim Backman

Website

Backman Laboratory


Centers

Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering


Departments

Biomedical Engineering

Affiliations

PhD Program in Applied Physics

PhD Program in Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences


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Education

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


Biography

Dr. Vadim Backman is the Walter Dill Scott Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Professor of Medicine (Hematology/Oncology) and Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Associate Director of Research Technology and Infrastructure and Program Leader in Cancer and Physical Sciences at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Director of the Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering.  He received his Ph.D. in Medical Engineering from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Dr. Backman’s research at the convergence of physical and biological sciences focuses on elucidating the function of the human genome and its dysregulation in disease, enabled by the development of new nanoscale imaging and computational technologies that lead to novel methods for regulation of global patterns of gene expression and their clinical translation for disease diagnostics and therapeutics. His research spans from basic science to technology development to multi-center clinical trials. Dr. Backman has received numerous awards including the Cozzarelli Prize from the National Academy of Sciences and was selected as one of the top 100 young innovators in the world by MIT Technology Review Magazine. He has chaired multiple scientific conferences such as OSA Biomed and SPIE Biomedical Applications of Light Scattering. He has published more than 230 papers in peer-reviewed journals including Nature, Nature Medicine, Science Advances, PNAS, and Physical Review Letters and holds over 20 patents.  Dr. Backman has a track record of managing large-scale multi-investigator projects including an NCI Bioengineering Research Partnership (BRP) and Early Detection Research Network (EDRN). He is the co-founder of three biotech companies.

Research Interests

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


Significant Recognition

  • Cozzarelli Prize, National Academy of Sciences (2017)
  • Fellow, Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (2013, 2016)
  • Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Scholar (2015)
  • Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellow (2015)
  • Faculty Honor Roll
  • Selected as one of the Top 100 Young Innovators in the World by MIT's Technology Review Magazine (2004)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2003)

Courses Taught

  • BME 302: Quantitative Systems Physiology
  • BME 429: Advanced Physical and Applied Optics

Selected Publications

  • Virk, Ranya K.A.; Wu, Wenli; Almassalha, Luay M.; Bauer, Greta M.; Li, Yue; VanDerway, David; Frederick, Jane; Zhang, Di; Eshein, Adam; Roy, Hemant K.; Szleifer, Igal; Backman, Vadim, Disordered chromatin packing regulates phenotypic plasticity, Science Advances
  • Huang, Kai; Li, Yue; Shim, Anne R.; Virk, Ranya K.A.; Agrawal, Vasundhara; Eshein, Adam; Nap, Rikkert J.; Almassalha, Luay M.; Backman, Vadim; Szleifer, Igal, Physical and data structure of 3D genome, Science Advances
  • Gladstein, Scott; Almassalha, Luay M.; Cherkezyan, Lusik; Chandler, John E.; Eshein, Adam; Eid, Aya; Zhang, Di; Wu, Wenli; Bauer, Greta M.; Stephens, Andrew D.; Morochnik, Simona; Subramanian, Hariharan; Marko, John F.; Ameer, Guillermo A.; Szleifer, Igal; Backman, Vadim, Multimodal interference-based imaging of nanoscale structure and macromolecular motion uncovers UV induced cellular paroxysm, Nature communications
  • Winkelmann, James A.; Eid, Aya; Spicer, Graham; Almassalha, Luay M.; Nguyen, The Quyen; Backman, Vadim, Spectral contrast optical coherence tomography angiography enables single-scan vessel imaging, Light: Science and Applications