Russell S. Witte, PhD

Professor, Medical Imaging and Optical Sciences
Professor, BIO5 Institute and Biomedical Engineering
Professor, Surgery and Neurosurgery
Professor, Applied Mathematics - GIDP and Neuroscience - GIDP
Member of the Graduate Faculty

Dr. Russell Witte, a native Tucsonan, received a BS degree with honors in physics from the University of Arizona in Tucson (1993). Following travel abroad in Europe and Brazil, he began graduate studies in bioengineering at Arizona State University. His doctoral thesis (PhD, 2002) used chronic microelectrode arrays to describe sensory coding and learning-induced plasticity in the mammalian brain. He then moved to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and, as a post doc in the Biomedical Ultrasonics Laboratory, developed novel hybrid imaging techniques that integrate ultrasound, light, and/or microwaves for medical applications. In 2007, Dr. Witte returned to Tucson and is now Professor at the University of Arizona. Dr. Witte’s Experimental Ultrasound and Neural Imaging Laboratory (EUNIL) devises cutting-edge imaging technology, integrating light, ultrasound and microwaves to diagnose and treat diseases ranging from chronic tendon disorders (tendinopathies) and irregular cardiac rhythms (arrhythmias) to breast cancer. By integrating different forms of energy, special effects are created that enable ultrasound imaging of optical absorption deep in tissue (photoacoustic imaging), mapping current source densities in the beating heart (acoustoelectric imaging), and elasticity imaging of human muscle and tendon for quantifying tissue mechanical properties. Dr. Witte's research further extends into nanotechnology and smart contrast agents, which have applications to functional brain imaging, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Dr. Witte works closely with collaborators in the Colleges of Engineering, Optical Sciences and Medicine, as well as industry, to develop cutting-edge imaging technologies that potentially improve patient care. Dr. Witte is also a member of the Arizona Cancer Center, Sarver Heart Center and School of Mind, Brain, and Behavior, as well as the Neuroscience, Applied Mathematics, and Biomedical Engineering graduate interdisciplinary programs (GIDPs). Dr. Witte's vision is to develop a new generation of young investigators steeped in multiple disciplines branching from neuroscience, neural engineering, biochemistry, mathematics, biomedical imaging and, physics. He welcomes dreamers, brainstormers and problems solvers to join his team in search of the next great discovery in physics and medicine.

Research Interests: 

Dr. Witte heads Medical Imaging’s Experimental Ultrasound and Neural Imaging Lab in the Biosciences Research Laboratory. The team develops new imaging methods using a combination of light, ultrasound and microwaves that potentially affect a variety of medical disorders from arrhythmia and epilepsy to cancer and tendinopathy. Novel sources for ultrasound contrast include optical and microwave absorption, mechanical strain, and electrical current. Research work enables the visualization of electrical brain “stormsˮ during uncontrollable seizures and envision “smartˮ photoacoustic agents that seek-and-destroy deadly tumors. Keywords: Ultrasound, Thermoacoustics, Biolectricity, Photoacoustics, Elasticity, Microwaves, Functional Brain Imaging, Behavior, Cardiac Imaging, Cancer Imaging, Smart Contrast Agents and Nanotechnology

  • MS: Arizona State University, 2000
  • PhD: Arizona State University, 2002

Select Publications


Preston, C., A. M. Alvarez, M. Allard, A. Barragan, and R. S. Witte, "Acoustoelectric Time-Reversal for Ultrasound Phase-Aberration Correction.", IEEE Trans Ultrason Ferroelectr Freq Control, vol. PP, 2023 Jul 05.
Alcaraz, P. Enrique, S. J. Davidson, E. Shreeve, R. Meuschke, M. Romanowski, R. S. Witte, T. R. Porter, and T. O. Matsunaga, "Thermal and Acoustic Stabilization Of Volatile Phase-Change Contrast Agents Via Layer-By-Layer Assembly.", Ultrasound Med Biol, vol. 49, issue 5, pp. 1058-1069, 2023 May. PMCID: PMC10050125  PMID: 36797095


Seckeler, M. D., L. Moedano, D. Mustacich, B. T. Kalb, M. Saranathan, J-P. Galons, and M. H. Witte, "Non-contrast MR lymphography of rare lymphatic abnormalities.", Lymphology, vol. 53, issue 3, pp. 136-140, 2020. PMID: 33350287
Preston, C., A. M. Alvarez, A. Barragan, J. Becker, W. S. Kasoff, and R. S. Witte, "High resolution transcranial acoustoelectric imaging of current densities from a directional deep brain stimulator.", J Neural Eng, vol. 17, issue 1, pp. 016074, 2020 02 27. PMCID: PMC7446234  PMID: 31978914


Preston, P., W. Kasoff, and R. Witte, Selective Mapping of Deep Brain Stimulation Lead Currents Using Acoustoelectric Imaging, 2018.


Fundella, KJ., RS. Witte, and P. Jonathan, Tracking delivery of a drug surrogate in the porcine heart using photoacoustic imaging and spectroscopy, 2017.
Kunyansky, L., C. P. Ingram, and R. S. Witte, "Rotational magneto-acousto-electric tomography (MAET): theory and experimental validation.", Phys Med Biol, vol. 62, issue 8, pp. 3025-3050, 2017 04 21. PMCID: PMC5526336  PMID: 28323633
Furdella, K. J., R. S. Witte, and J. P. Vande Geest, "Tracking delivery of a drug surrogate in the porcine heart using photoacoustic imaging and spectroscopy.", J Biomed Opt, vol. 22, issue 4, pp. 41016, 2017 04 01.
Taljanovic, M. S., L. H. Gimber, G. W. Becker, D. L Latt, A. S. Klauser, D. M. Melville, L. Gao, and R. S. Witte, "Shear-Wave Elastography: Basic Physics and Musculoskeletal Applications.", Radiographics, vol. 37, issue 3, pp. 855-870, 2017 May-Jun. PMCID: PMC5452887 


Gimber, LH., DM. Melville, AS. Klauser, RS. Witte, H. Arif-Tiwari, and MS. Taljanovic, "Artifacts in Musculoskeletal Ultrasound", Radiographics, vol. 36, issue 2, pp. 479-480, 04/2016.
Gimber, L. H., D. M. Melville, A. S. Klauser, R. S. Witte, H. Arif-Tiwari, and M. S. Taljanovic, "Artifacts at Musculoskeletal US: Resident and Fellow Education Feature.", Radiographics, vol. 36, issue 2, pp. 479-80, 2016 Mar-Apr. PMID: 26963457


Qin, Y., Q. Li, P. Ingram, C. Barber, Z. Liu, and R. S. Witte, "Ultrasound current source density imaging of the cardiac activation wave using a clinical cardiac catheter.", IEEE Trans Biomed Eng, vol. 62, issue 1, pp. 241-7, 2015 Jan. PMCID: PMC4406765  PMID: 25122512
Goyal, U., Y. Kim, H. Arif Tiwari, R. Witte, and B. Stea, "A pilot study of ultrasound-guided electronic brachytherapy for skin cancer.", J Contemp Brachytherapy, vol. 7, issue 5, pp. 374-80, 2015 Oct. PMCID: PMC4663218 
Gao, L., J. S. Yuan, G. J. Heden, J. A. Szivek, M. S. Taljanovic, D. L Latt, and R. S. Witte, "Ultrasound elasticity imaging for determining the mechanical properties of human posterior tibial tendon: a cadaveric study.", IEEE Trans Biomed Eng, vol. 62, issue 4, pp. 1179-84, 2015 Apr. PMID: 25532163


Taljanovic, M. S., D. M. Melville, L. R. Scalcione, L. H. Gimber, E. J. Lorenz, and R. S. Witte, "Artifacts in musculoskeletal ultrasonography.", Semin Musculoskelet Radiol, vol. 18, issue 1, pp. 3-11, 2014 Feb.


Peyman, G. A., C. P. Ingram, L. G. Montilla, and R. S. Witte, "A high-resolution 3D ultrasonic system for rapid evaluation of the anterior and posterior segment.", Ophthalmic Surg Lasers Imaging, vol. 43, issue 2, pp. 143-51, 2012 Mar-Apr.


Roach, M., J-L. Alberini, A. Paul Pecking, A. Testori, F. Verrecchia, J. Soteldo, U. Ganswindt, J. L. Joyal, J. W. Babich, R. S. Witte, et al., "Diagnostic and therapeutic imaging for cancer: therapeutic considerations and future directions.", J Surg Oncol, vol. 103, issue 6, pp. 587-601, 2011 May 1.
Bauer, D. R., R. Olafsson, L. G. Montilla, and R. S. Witte, "3-D photoacoustic and pulse echo imaging of prostate tumor progression in the mouse window chamber.", J Biomed Opt, vol. 16, issue 2, pp. 026012, 2011 Feb. PMCID: PMC3065344 


Olafsson, R., D. R. Bauer, L. G. Montilla, and R. S. Witte, "Real-time, contrast enhanced photoacoustic imaging of cancer in a mouse window chamber.", Opt Express, vol. 18, issue 18, pp. 18625-32, 2010 Aug 30.


Witte, R. S., P. J. Rousche, and D. R. Kipke, "Fast wave propagation in auditory cortex of an awake cat using a chronic microelectrode array.", J Neural Eng, vol. 4, issue 2, pp. 68-78, 2007 Jun. PMID: 17409481