Faculty Spotlight: Ran Zhang

Posted on August 2023

Ran Zhang, PhD has joined the Imaging Sciences Section as an Assistant Professor (Tenure Track). He earned his PhD in Engineering Physics from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, and has previously served as an Assistant Scientist in the Department of Medical Physics at UW-Madison.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I was born and raised in Beijing, China. I lived there for the first 26 years of my life, and moved to Madison in 2014, after completing my PhD.

Q: Why did you choose medical physics?

A: For my PhD, I worked on X-Ray phase contrast and dark-field imaging of breast tissue. It’s a research topic that brought me to medical imaging – and to UW-Madison, since Guang-Hong Chen, PhD was interested in that same topic. I joined his lab group initially as a Postdoc then as an Assistant Scientist in the Department of Medical Physics. During these years, I was exposed to other topics in X-ray/CT imaging and Artificial Intelligence, which eventually led me to this position.

Q: What are your career interests and goals?

A: I hope to establish myself as a world-recognized leader in the emerging field of AI-driven X-ray and CT imaging. I would be very proud of myself if my algorithm/software could help clinicians diagnose and treat patients.

Q: What are your research interests?

A: I’m interested in applying AI technologies to improve image quality, enhance functionality, and improve clinical workflow for clinicians. My primary focus is on X-ray and CT imaging, but I hope to expand my research to other imaging modalities.

Q: Why did you choose to work at UW?

A: The most important factor is the people. There are so many great researchers and educators in both the Department of Medical Physics and the Department of Radiology. I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with some of these researchers already, and I can learn a lot every day from them. Also, UW-Madison offers everything I need in terms of facilities – and I really enjoy living in Madison!

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: I’m a big sports fan. I’ve been an NBA fan since I was a child, and my fascination with American football has also grown over the years. I also enjoy hiking with my wife on the weekends and playing billiards with my friends.