Dr Woei Ming Steve Lee

Postdoc-Biomed (Harvard Med Sch), PhD - Optics (St Andrews Uni), B.Eng- EE (Nanyang Tech Uni)
Group Leader
College of Health & Medicine
T: +6126125 6166

Areas of expertise

  • Biological Physics 029901
  • Medical Physics 029903
  • Fluidisation And Fluid Mechanics 091504
  • Optical Physics 0205
  • Biomedical Instrumentation 090303
  • Biomedical Engineering 0903
  • Photonics, Optoelectronics And Optical Communications 020504
  • Medical Biotechnology Diagnostics (Incl. Biosensors) 100402
  • Cardiovascular Medicine And Haematology 1102

Research interests

ANU Optical Biofluidics Imaging Group (Lee group) studies Spatial Temporal Biology through 4D Imaging

There ia very limited understanding spatial temporal behavior of cells undergoing a diverse range of microscopic fluidic force (interstitial and vascular flow).Our goal is to study biophysical mechanisms underpinning cell aggregation and migrate under fluidic flows and in doing so develop 4D Imaging Flow Assays - in vivo and in vitro - across range of time and size scale at high resolution to record and quantify these biofluidic interactions. Lee group's work has been reported interdisciplinary biomethods journals such as Nature Protocols, Lab On Chip, Biophys J, Cell, Biomed Opt Exp, Blood Advances, Sci Rep, Advanced Biosyst as well as specialised physical sciences journals such Opt Lett, Physical Review A, Opt Express, App Phys Lett etc.

Lee group compromises of interdisciplinary imaging scientists (optics, biochemistry, machine learning) that can build cutting edge 4D, 5D optical microscopy tools  (non-commerically available) so as to tailor each to investigate fluid flow in a biological relevant models (microfluidics, organiods and mice model). For example, his team developed Raster Adaptive Optics (RAO, patent pending- 2019904929) formed the basis for 2x National in vivo Imaging Initiatives (ACRF InCite and ARC-LIEF) to study immune and cancer cells in ECM in mice models. His label-free high resolution imaging of blood thrombus (COSI) is used by National Platelet Referral Centre for early diagnosis in embolisment using microchips.

Recently, Steve's team have expertises in machine learning (HoloUNET) "Restore a hologram to close to perfect condition at almost pitch black at sub-millisecond imaging speeds -featured in Laser Focus World’s ‘Top 20 inventions in 2020’) alongside with Coded Lightsheet from HKU, computational super resolution SOFI - EPFL, Single molecule 1 nm localisation- UNSW.


As an interdisciplinary imaging scientist, Steve completed undergraduate training in Electronics Engineering at the Nanyang Tech University (Singapore) and a PhD in Optics at the University of St Andrews (UK) with Kishan Dholakia and Ewan Wright. From 2010-2012, his postdoctoral fellowship was on bioimaging (NIH, NCI-PSOC) at Harvard Medical School (USA) with Seok-Hyun Andy Yun, that is followed a Vice Chancellor Fellowship (UNSW- NanoOptics). Prior to his PhD studies, Steve developed commercial laser instruments (Einst Tech Pte Ltd)  

As a highly collaborative biomedical imaging scientist, he developed wide collaborative network across medical biosciences and imaging scientists. His interdisciplinary work have been reported biomethod journals: Nature Protocol, Lab On Chip, Biophys J, Cell, Biomed Opt Exp, Blood Advances, Sci Rep, Advanced Biosyst. More notably, his 2014 ANSTO Eureka Prize was awarded for the development of low cost elastomer optics for mobile microscopy. Since 2015, he was awarded major advanced bioimaging project grants with total amount ~ $16.3 million; as ANU lead-Chief Investigator- on major competitive project grants (ARC, NHMRC, Industry) ~ $2.67 million, as co-Chief Investigator (ACRF, ARC, Industry) worth $3.85 million and participant (industry) ~ $8.75 million. In 2021, he is the Director of Technology and a Chief Investigator of ACRF (InCite) Centre and will serve on the Advisory Editorial Board of Biomicrofluidics-AIP.  

As an educator, he was a finalist for 2015 ANU Last lecture finalist- nominated by student society, convenor of Biomedical Imaging and ANU MIT-Harvard (HST)-BioOptics summer school from 2014-2018. He has trained >30 junior researchers (postdoc, PhD, honours).

As a communicator, he delivered invited oral presentations at over 20 international and national conferences, as invited, plenary, keynote, public lectures organised by Google, ANSTO, Royal Society-NSW, TedXCanberra and Optical Societies (OSA, EOS, AOS) and Fraunhofer institute and Czech Academy of Sciences. His work received media coverage in TIME, ABC News, Sunrise (Ch7) ,SMH, The Australian, CBS News and Smithsonian.  

Researcher's projects

oBIGGoogle Scholar , ORCIDResearchGate

Spatial Temporal Biology with 4D Imaging

AIM 1: 4D Cell aggregates: Stability versus Growth. 

What drives cells to aggregate into a single entity?

  • Perform 4D live imaging of cell aggregation under physiological flow rates in vitro and in vivo. 
  • Work with computational biologists to improve digital models of cell aggregates.

 AIM 2: 4D Cell migration in flow- Topology versus adhesion. 

What key factors in the microenvironments drive cell migration along vascular bed and extracellular matrix? 

  • Develop novel microstructure and surface coating in controlled microfluidic flow environment.
  • Study cell-ECM physical interaction under fluid shear.

 AIM 3:  4D Extracellular matrix – Mapping disordered fluidic in 4D.

What are the local biofluidic properties of extracellular matrix drives cells migration and aggregation?

  • Investigate the influence of volumetric fluidic flow gradient
  • Study the emergence of salient features of disordered fluidic pathways in extracellular matrix.


Available student projects

Highly motivated students with keen interest in interdisciplinary imaging research are welcome to join our highly multidisciplinary and growing research laboratory at the Australian National University to invent, develop new optical imaging solutions to discover new molecular and structural mechanisms of blood cells trafficking, aggregate, migrate under fluid shear

Project 1

  • Cell migrate to different biomechanical and biochemical cues. In this project, we will develop novel microstructure and surface coating in controlled microfluidic flow environment. This is to study adhesion versus non-adhesion cell migration

Project 2

  • Study the emergence of salient features of disordered fluidic pathways in extracellular matrix. In this project, we shall use advanced imaging, machine learning and computational fluidics to study seemingly chaotic fluidic pathways.



Current student projects

  • Dr Daniel Lim - ANU BioImaging Postdoctoral FellowAdvanced 4D Imaging of blood cells, Collaborator – Gardiner, JCSMRPhan, Garvan
  • Mr Hanqi Lin - ANU Imaging Technician, Advanced Computational Imaging 
  • Ms Yujie Zheng- PhD student, Label- Free Multimodal Biofluidic Imaging Collaborator – Gardiner, JCSMR
  • Mr Avinash Upadhya- PhD studentStructured beams for super-res nanoscopy Collaborator – Shroff NIH
  • Mr Tienan Xu- PhD student,  Novel Lightsheet Imaging, Collaborator – Gaus UNSW
  • Mr Zhiduo Zhang- Research AssistantMachine learning for Microscopy, Collaborator – Xie, CS , Eduardo JCSMR
  • Mr Junxiang Zhang- ANU Imaging Technician, Holographic Imaging and Capillary Fluidics
  • Mr Andrew Waddell, Honours student, Computing Real time Adaptive optics for imaging in blood vessel.
  • Mr Jasper Li, Visiting Research Assistant, Imaging meets modeling thrombus formation

Past student projects

Junior Research Staff (Supervisor)

2017 - 2020:     Mr Tao Xu ,                            Toyota Graduate Training Program    

2018 - 2019:     *Dr Yuanqing (Alex) Ma ,        EMBO Fellow, Marseille France    

2017 - 2018:      Dr Samantha Montague,        Research Fellow,             

2016 - 2017:      Dr Roland Fleddermann,         Research Fellow,                          

2014 - 2015:      Mr Zijian Cen,                       Senior Product Analytics                              

Graduate students (Primary supervisor)

2015 -  2019:     Mr Yongxiao Li, PhD Candidate, Postdoctoral Researcher, Rockefeller Uni

2014 -  2018:     Miss Xuefei (Sherry) He, PhD Candidate  Imaging Engineer, HiSilicon

2014 -  2018:     Miss Tahseen Kamal, PhD Candidate Research Associate UNSW

2016 -  2017:    *Miss Wei Zhong, Master Student (Uni Twente, Netherlands)  Research Scientist, Science Sport

2013 -  2016:     Mr Niko Eckerskorn, PhD Candidate (Australian National University)  Analytics Engineer - CoreLogic RP Data

2015 -  2016:    *Mr Wengou Zhu, Visiting PhD candidate(Sun Yat University, China)        Lecturer

2014 – 2015:    *Mr Redmar Vileg, Visiting Master Student (Uni Twente, Netherlands) PhD student, Leiden Uni 

2013 – 2014:     Mr Huang Longyao, Master by Research  (Australian National University)

2013 – 2014:    *Miss Sjoukje Schoustra, Visiting Master Student (Uni Twente, Netherlands)   PhD student, Twente Uni

2013 – 2014 :   *Miss Li Li,Visiting PhD candidate(Sun Yat University, China) Research Engineering Huawei


2020 - 2021:     Mr Hanqi Lin                          Imaging Technician, ANU  

2019 - 2020:     Mr Junxiang Zhang                 Imaging Technician, ANU

2019 - 2020:     Mr Sanjeev Parbaharan

2018           :    *Ms Hui Wang Undergraduate, Tsinghua University

2017-  2018:     Mr Yonglin Ren

2017-  2017:     Mr Oliver Johnson, University Medal  | ANU-HST-MIT summer scholar

2016 - 2016 :    Ms Emily Campbell  Tillyard prize recipient | ANU-HST-MIT Summer scholar

2016-  2017:     Mr Tienan Xu  ANU-PhD student

2015 - 2016:     Mr Thomas McMenamin  ANU-MPhil student

2015 - 2016:     Mr Avinash Upadhya, University Medal  | ANU-HST-MIT summer scholar ANU-PhD student

2015 - 2016:     Mr Yang Lu  CSIRO-PhD student 

2015 - 2016:     Mr Tao Xu    ANU-MSc student

2014 - 2015:     Mr Misha Petkovic System Engineer, Seeing Machine

2015 - 2016      Miss Yi Du

2015 - 2016      Miss Yujie Zheng   ANU-PhD student

2015 - 2016      Mr Lyle Halliday,  University Medal, IET Medal  System Engineer, S Medical

2014 - 2015      Mr Zachary Shafron,  Honorable mention(undergraduate project) System Engineer, Thales

2013 –2015      Mr Avinash Upadhya, Yao Su Student Research Award ANU-PhD student

2014 2015      Ms Rachel Watkins,YouFab Global Creative Awards, Finalist Teacher (STEM)

2014 2015      Mr David Wright

2014 2015      Mr Jaden Rubstein

2014 –2015      Mr Zi Cen (Kenny) Senior Product Analytics Engineer ResMed

2014 2015      Mr Alan Harrison 

2013 2014      Miss Siti Mohd Shariaf   

* visiting


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  05 August 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers