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Michael Choma, MD, PhD

Associate Professor Adjunct


Michael A. Choma, MD, PhD is a physician-scientist with expertise in pediatrics, biomedical optics, and biomedical engineering. His research uses innovative optical imaging methods to better understand and treat pediatric disease, including congenital heart disease and ciliary disease. Michael received his BS in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University (thesis advisor: Joseph Izatt, PhD), and his MD from Duke University. His PhD thesis research into optical coherence tomography (OCT), a non-contact optical imaging method that is the optical analogue of ultrasound imaging, contributed to next-generation OCT technologies that enabled a 100 to 1000-fold increase in clinical imaging speeds without compromising image quality or sensitivity. While Michael was a resident in pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston, he pursued research in high-speed, high-resolution imaging of embryo hearts as a Visiting Clinical Fellow at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital (research advisors: Guillermo Tearney, MD, PhD and Brett Bouma, PhD). After training in Boston, Michael came to the Yale School of Medicine to start a biomedical optics lab in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology.

Michael's has active research in three areas. First, he develops new laser sources for microscopy and biological imaging. Second, using sophisticated optical imaging methods, he studies abnormal embryonic heart function in different animal models of human disease, including Xenopus (tadpole) and Drosophila (fruit fly). In particular, he studies the role that specific human genes play in abnormal embryo heart development and physiology. Third, he develops imaging methods to better diagnose abnormalities in respiratory cilia function. Since cilia expel mucus that contains allergens, viruses, and bacteria, they are essential to keeping lungs healthy.

The overall impact of Michael's work is two-fold. First, he is developing core optical technologies that may find widespread use in microscopy. Second, his cilia and heart imaging research has the potential to personalize the diagnosis and treatment of a wide-variety of pediatric diseases.

Education & Training

  • MD
    Duke University (2006)
  • PhD
    Duke University (2004)
  • Intern
    Children's Hospital Boston
  • Resident
    Children's Hospital Boston
  • Resident
    Yale-New Haven Hospital

Honors & Recognition

Numenta Startup Prize2015
Theodore von Kármán Fellowship, RWTH Aachen University (Germany)2014

Departments & Organizations