Jana Kainerstorfer is the principal investigator of the Biophotonics Lab at Carnegie Mellon in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Vienna, Austria, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda MD in 2010.

Kainerstorfer has an extensive background in optical imaging, with an emphasis on near-infrared spectroscopy and imaging. She has particular experience in developing instruments as well as data analysis of optical data. Her lab’s research focus is based on optical imaging for clinical applications with emphasis spanning two primary areas: instrument and measurement protocol development of non-invasive optical imaging which can yield biomarkers for disease diagnostics and monitoring; and translation of such imaging tools to answer clinical questions where microvascular imaging can be of use for understanding a pathophysiology or monitoring of disease.

4N105 Scott Hall
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Jana Kainerstorfer
Biophotonics Lab website

Biomedical Optics for Monitoring Disease

Non-Invasive Monitoring of the Brain Using Near-Infrared Light

Novel Strategies for Sensing and Stimulating the Brain Noninvasively and Precisely


2010 Ph.D., Physics, University of Vienna

2007 MS, Physics, University of Vienna

Media mentions

CMU Engineering

Wearable tech aids freedivers, cardiac patients

Carnegie Mellon University researchers are part of an international team working on wearable biomedical technology that will enhance freediver safety, as well as provide fresh treatment insights for cardiac patients.

Kainerstorfer presents at SPIE Photonics West Conference

BME’s Jana Kainerstorfer spoke at this year’s SPIE Photonics West Conference in February in San Francisco. Kainerstorfer presented her research on intracranial pressure and neurovascular coupling in the Neurotechnologies Plenary Session.

Singularity Hub features ECE/BME joint DARPA project

Singularity Hub featured BME and ECE researchers’ project recently funded by DARPA, in which they are using ultrasound waves to pinpoint light interaction in targeted brain regions, then measuring brain waves through a wearable “hat.”

College of Engineering names 2019 faculty award winners

The College of Engineering has announced the winners of the 2019 faculty awards. They include: Alan McGaughey, Paulina Jaramillo, Jana Kainerstorfer, Reeja Jayan, Carmel Majidi, Jonathan Malen, and Vijayakumar Bhagavatula.

CMU Engineering

Wearable system to sense and stimulate the brain

A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon is starting a project to design and implement a high-resolution, noninvasive neural interface that can be used as a wearable device.

Kainerstorfer invited to speak at 2019 GAFOE symposium

BME’s Jana Kainerstorfer has been invited to speak at 2019 German-American Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, to be held in March 2019.

CMU Engineering

Shining a light on intracranial pressure

Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Jana Kainerstorfer and her Ph.D. student Alexander Ruesch, in collaboration with Matthew Smith from the University of Pittsburgh, have been developing an alternative, non-invasive way for doctors to measure and monitor intracranial pressure using an approach based on near infrared spectroscopy.


Kainerstorfer competing in STAT Madness

BME professor Jana Kainerstorfer's groundbreaking breast cancer lesion monitor research has caught the eye of STAT Madness, a bracket-style competition to find the best biomedical innovation of 2017.

CMU Engineering

College of Engineering’s 2017 game changers

From engineering new materials to constructing smart systems, researchers in the College of Engineering are innovating for the future. Read some of our highlights from 2017.


Kainerstorfer featured on breast lesion scanner

BME’s Jana Kainerstorfer was featured in Furthermore for her innovative breast lesion scanner: a portable, handheld device that can give doctors more information to determine next steps for treatment.

Kainerstorfer awarded Scientist Development Grant from American Heart Association

BME’s Jana Kainerstorfer was awarded a Scientist Development Grant from the American Heart Association.