Faculty Profile

Leslie Ying

Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering

Leslie Ying in her lab.


My current research is improving magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), more specifically, developing innovative algorithms to make the images look better. In MRI, because the time needed to obtain the necessary images is long, patients have to stay in the MRI scanner — motionless — for a period of time. In many cases, this means that patients are asked to hold their breath. When doctors want to look at an organ that can’t be still, such as a beating heart, the images have poor quality.

I develop complicated algorithms to generate high-quality images from only a small portion of the data that is commonly collected. Collecting less data means that a shorter time is needed to perform an MRI scan.  The algorithms take advantage of the observations that most data in an image — whether an MRI scan or a vacation photo — is redundant. So she only acquires the key, non-redundant information in the first place, but without knowing what the image looks like exactly. To obtain the image from reduced data, mathematical models describing the redundancy are used.

My research has been recognized by a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. I am collaborating with industrial partners to transfer this technology into clinical MRI systems to benefit all patients.

Research Interests

Compressed sensing and its applications in biomedical imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, image reconstruction


  • PhD, Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 2003
  • MS, Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 1999
  • BEng, Electronics Engineering, Minor in English, Tsinghua University, Beijing, P.R. China, July 1997

Honors, Awards and Special Recognitions

  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2009
  • First Place Poster Award (Image Reconstruction and Post-Processing), International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), May 2008
  • Best Paper Award, Journal of Digital Imaging, August 2010
  • University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Research Foundation and the Graduate School Research Award, October 2009
  • University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Research Fellow, 2009
  • Student Paper Award, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society, June 2002
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Student Fellowship, Tsinghua University, 1993 –  1996

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