2022 Master Class【Biology & Engineering】Experiment in Cell and Introduction to Optical Engineering for the Biological Sciences

Course Description

This will be an immersive course that will take students on a journey to explore the world of microscopy from its early history to its modern advancement ultimately arriving at the forefront of a modern approach to microscopy. Students will get an introduction to microscopy and learn its basic elements. From there students will begin developing their own holographic microscope which will give them hands-on experience of what it takes to engineer a device. Students will then test their devices using Python Code to be able to achieve holographic imaging. Finally, students will test their newly built holographic microscopes to study a biological specimen of their choosing and present their findings.


Student Learning Objective 

  • History and early developments of microscopes 
  • Biological relevance of microscopes 
  • Introduction to microscopy techniques 
  • Engineering an electronic device 
  • Combining hardware and software programming 
  • Experimentation 


Course Content 


Course Outcome 

  • Full immersion into the world of microscopy
  • Developing and engineering an electronic device 
  • Programming in Python 
  • Utilizing a holographic microscope 
  • Scientific Research: Developing an experiment, testing and presenting findings


Introduction to Professor

Dr. Ziah Dean is a Post-doctoral Fellow in the National Science Foundation(NSF) Science and Technology  Center(STC) for Cellular Construction at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF has one of the top 10 Medical Schools in U.S.). Dr. Dean completed his BS in Bioengineering at the University of California in 2011 and his PhD at the University of Michigan in 2018 in the area of Biophysics, studying in particular the fate of bacterial populations in the midst of drug combinations. His most recent work involves several projects including the development of a low-cost high resolution holographic microscopes for deployment in both field work and classrooms. Dr. Dean is also studying Microviscosity by analyzing the rotational diffusion of proteins in cells and viscous media. His teaching experience involves both mentorship and research in the areas of biological engineering and biophysics.

Words from the Professor