Patrick La Rivière

Who am I?

In addition to being an MBL Fellow, I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of Chicago. I received the A.B. degree in physics from Harvard University in 1994, spent a year studying Philosophy of Physics at Cambridge University, and then received my Ph.D. from the Graduate Programs in Medical Physics at the University of Chicago in 2000. I have been there ever since!

IMG_0779I am a medical physicist and imaging scientist with a focus on computational imaging. This involves working on imaging systems, like computed tomography (CT) scanners and some cutting-edge microscopes, which acquire data that don’t really look like a useful image. Computation is needed to form the image that is presented to the end user. These computational imaging modalities can achieve higher resolution with faster and less damaging acquisitions than conventional approaches. While I have historically devoted most of my efforts to CT and other X-ray based modalities, I have been drawn recently into microscopy, which is undergoing the kind of disruptive shift that CT experienced starting 20 years ago.

Why do I come to the MBL?

The MBL is one of the leading centers of microscopy innovation in the world. On the side of technology development, the MBL attracts a critical mass of microscope builders that is nearly impossible to find at a single university. Just as important, the MBL has a large community of microscopy users who like to push new technology to its limit and who provide ideas for desirable new capabilities. This creates a virtuous circle of new technology enabling new science, which in turn provides the impetus for further technological improvements.

What do I plan to do/work on at the MBL?
I plan to pursue several projects that leverage my expertise at the intersection of computation and imaging to help my optical collaborators develop new generations of microscope, to help my biological collaborators answer key scientific questions, and to help me contribute to the general theory of computational imaging. My first project is in collaboration with Hari Shroff and seeks to improve spatial resolution and reduce phototoxicity in multi-lens selective-plane illumination microscopy, which has broad implications for imaging of embryos in developmental biology. The second project is in collaboration with Rudolf Oldenbourg and entails extending polarization microscopy to the third dimension by using light-field technology. This will allow for 3D studies of cellular architecture and dynamics.

More information:

See Patrick’s website:

MBL Blog: Every Photon is Valuable: New Microscope Captures “Lost” Fluorescence, Improving Resolution