Ishan Barman, a professor of mechanical engineering with joint appointments in the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, is an expert in biomedical imaging and bioengineering. His research program is dedicated to engineering innovation for the analysis of complex biological systems, addressing questions relevant to both fundamental biology and applied clinical research. The key pillars of his research include biophotonics, nanomaterials, and artificial intelligence (AI).
In his visionary talk at the Annual Physical Society meeting in 1959, Richard Feynman emphasized the importance of advanced imaging in biological discovery. The Barman Laboratory embraces this concept by developing noninvasive spectroscopic and imaging tools to explore biomolecular and biophysical phenomena. Computational methods are advanced to mine, use, and understand spectroscopic data, enabling investigations across various biological levels, from single-molecule sensing to tissue and organismal behavior monitoring.
Establishing his laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in 2014, Barman has pioneered the application of spontaneous and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) in diverse pathophysiological contexts. His work involves engineering nanostructured probes for ultrasensitive detection of specific molecular species through SERS, capturing intricate tissue changes predicting disease progression. Another focus is quantitative tissue microspectroscopy, aiming to identify differential spectral markers for cell types, early cancer detection, and objective cancer grading.
The Barman laboratory augments its biophotonics expertise with a palette of skills in nanomanufacturing and DNA self-assembly, in molecular and cellular biology, and in data sciences and AI. Over the past decade, Barman has successfully developed virus sensing and surveillance platforms; DNA nanotechnology-based probes for single molecule sensing; nanostructured substrates for cell manipulation and analysis; and AI-assisted quantitative phase imaging for tracking subtle changes in cellular morphologies.
A prolific researcher and inventor, Barman has authored 135 journal articles, 140 conference papers, holds 15 U.S. and provisional patents, and has delivered 95 invited talks. Barman has received numerous accolades, including the NIH MIRA Award for Established Investigators, Oracle Research Fellow, Emerging Leader in Molecular Spectroscopy Award, Eastern Analytical Symposium (EAS) Young Investigator, Johns Hopkins University Catalyst Award, NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, Outstanding Young Engineer (OYE) from the Maryland Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Horace Furumoto Innovations Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS).
Barman earned his bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in 2005 and his SM and PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007 and 2011. He conducted postdoctoral research in the G.R. Harrison Spectroscopy Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.