Parsin Haji Reza

Parsin Haji Reza
Research Chair in Biomedical Imaging | Director - PhotoMedicine Labs | Associate Professor
Location: E7 6416
Phone: 519-888-4567 x40172
Status: Active


Professor Parsin Haji Reza (Ph.D. and P. Eng.) is an award-winning teacher, researcher, entrepreneur, published novelist, and the inventor of photoacoustic/photon-absorption remote sensing (PARS®) microscopy. He is a founder of illumiSonics Inc., where he held the position of CEO from 2014 to 2018; he remains the CTO and Chairman of the Board, where he leads all scientific research and technology development and oversees major company decisions and policies. illumiSonics under Dr. Haji Reza's leadership raised private investments (+$10M) and attracted notable individuals and international companies. Dr. Haji Reza Joined the University of Waterloo in April 2018 as an assistant professor and promoted to associate professor in July 2023. He received the Faculty of Engineering Distinguished Performance Award (2020), Engineering Research Excellence Award (2021), and Outstanding Performance Award (2022). In addition, for the work he has done to support the mental health of the students during the pandemic, he received the Engineering Society Friend of Natalie Award. Since October 2022, Dr. Haji Reza has been appointed as ​a Research Chair in Biomedical Imaging at the University of Waterloo.

For his contribution to the field of ophthalmology, he has been appointed as a translational medical staff at the Wills Eye hospital. Wills Eye Hospital is ranked as one of the top three ophthalmology hospitals in the United States. It was established in 1832 and is the oldest continually operating eye-care facility in the United States. He has established PhotoMedicine Labs at the University of Waterloo (2019), which has attracted, trained, and retained top biomedical engineering students from across Canada and internationally.

PhotoMedicine Labs is funded by industry collaborators and top granting agencies in Canada (e.g., New Frontiers Exploration grant, CIHR project grant, NSERC Discovery Horizons) and has garnered ~$6 M since 2019 (with ~1M expected annually in the next five years). Dr. Haji Reza ‘s current research focuses on developing the first real-time cancer surgical microscope to enable immediate tissue biopsy and full tumour resection during surgery, as well as the first clinical ophthalmic imaging tool capable of pre-diagnosing eye-blinding diseases before they become symptomatic (this is not currently possible). Since 2019, the lab has published numerous high-impact peer-reviewed articles, reporting breakthroughs in histological, oncological, ophthalmological and endoscopic imaging that could revolutionize the way the world looks at tissues.

In general, Dr. Haji Reza and his team are interested in designing and developing novel hardware and software methods for clinical and pre-clinical biomedical applications. These new technologies aim to provide clinicians and researchers with novel capabilities and information that is presently difficult to obtain with existing techniques. He invented and pioneered several new technologies/concepts including, Photoacoustic Remote Sensing (PARS®) microscopy, a novel absorption-based, non-contact, non-invasive, label-free imaging technique.

Dr. Haji Reza and his team continually strive to maintain an extremely dynamic, respectful, intellectual, fun, and creative environment. The team is working on cutting-edge research in biomedical engineering and biophotonics, including non-invasive non-contact optical imaging methods, micro-endoscopy designs, handheld, and portable medical imaging techniques, design, and fabrication of nano-structured sensors, image processing, Machine Learning methods, Capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers, and novel deep optical imaging tomography methods. The team pursues applications in ophthalmology, oncology, dermatology, neurology, cardiology, dentistry, pharmaceutical, and pre-clinical research.

The research philosophy of PhotoMedicine labs is transitional research from bench to the bedside. We are always looking to collaborate with talented students, faculties, researchers, clinicians, and industry.

Research Interests

  • Medical imaging
  • Image processing
  • Machine learning
  • Medical devices
  • Nano-fabrication
  • Photoacoustic remote sensing (PARS) microscopy
  • Capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducer (CMUT)
  • Multi-scale functional and molecular photoacoustic tomography
  • Ultrasound imaging
  • All optical and non-contact detection systems
  • Photoacoustic wavefront shaping
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT)
  • Multi-photon microscopy
  • Novel multi-modality optical imaging techniques
  • Design and fabrication of micro-endoscopy systems
  • Super-resolution imaging techniques
  • Real-time and 3D biomedical imaging
  • Novel optical and fiber-based components
  • Novel laser systems for biomedical applications
  • Optical sensors
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Optics
  • Photonics


  • 2015, Doctorate Biomedical Engineering, University of Alberta, Canada
  • 2010, Bachelor's (Honors) Electronics Majoring in Optical Engineering, Multimedia University, Malaysia


  • BME 364 - Engineering Biomedical Economics
    • Taught in 2019
  • BME 386 - The Physics of Medical Imaging
    • Taught in 2020, 2021
  • BME 393 - Digital Systems
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
  • BME 587 - Special Topics in Biomedical Signals
    • Taught in 2021, 2023

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Zohreh Hosseinaee, Nicholas Pellegrino, Nima Abbasi, Tara Amiri, James A. Tummon Simmons, Paul Fieguth, and Parsin Haji Reza, In-vivo functional and structural retinal imaging using multiwavelength photoacoustic remote sensing microscopy, Scientific Reports, 1, 2022
  • Z. Hosseinaee, B. R. Ecclestone, N. Pellegrino, L. Khalili, L. Mukhangaliyeva, P. Fieguth, P. HajiReza, Functional photoacoustic remote sensing microscopy using a stabilized temperature-regulated stimulated Raman scattering light source, Optics Express, 29745, 2021
  • Zohreh Hosseinaee, Nima Abbasi, Nicholas Pellegrino, Layla Khalili, Lyazzat Mukhangaliyeva, and Parsin Haji Reza, Functional and structural ophthalmic imaging using noncontact multimodal photoacoustic remote sensing microscopy and optical coherence tomography, Scientific Reports, , 2021
  • John Mackey, Benjamin R, Ecclestone, Deepak Dinakaran, Gilbert Bigras, Parsin Haji Reza, H&E-like histology of unstained fresh and formalin fixed breast tissue with Photo Acoustic Remote Sensing (PARS) microscopy, Journal of Medical Oncology, e12590, 2021
  • Benjamin R. Ecclestone, Zohreh Hosseinaee, Nima Abbasi, Kevan Bell, Deepak Dinakaran, John R. Mackey & Parsin Haji Reza, Three-dimensional virtual histology in unprocessed resected tissues with photoacoustic remote sensing (PARS) microscopy and optical coherence tomography (OCT), Scientific Reports, 1, 2021
  • Kevan Bell, Lyazzat Mukhangaliyeva, Layla Khalili, and Parsin Haji Reza, Hyperspectral absorption microscopy using photoacoustic remote sensing, Optics Express, 24338, 2021
  • Zohreh Hosseinaee, James A. Tummon Simmons, Parsin Haji Reza, Dual-modal photoacoustic imaging and optical coherence tomography [Review], Frontiers in Physics, , 2021
  • Benjamin R. Ecclestone, Deepak Dinakaran, Parsin Haji Reza, Single Acquisition Label-free Histology-like Imaging with Dual Contrast Photoacoustic Remote Sensing Microscopy, Journal of Biomedical Optics, 056007, 2021
  • Benjamin R. Ecclestone, Saad Abbasi, Kevan Bell, Deepak Dinakaran, Gilbert Bigras, John R. Mackey, Parsin Haji Reza, Towards virtual biopsies of gastrointestinal tissues using photoacoustic remote sensing microscopy, QMIS, 1070, 2021
  • Benjamin R. Ecclestone, Kevan Bell, Saad Abbasi, Deepak Dinakaran, Muba Taher, John R. Mackey, and Parsin Haji Reza, Histopathology for Mohs micrographic surgery with photoacoustic remote sensing microscopy, Biomed. Opt. Express, 654, 2021

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