Field-Portable Computational Microscopy


There is the need for high-quality, low-cost imaging of disease samples in low-resource settings. We will add new imaging capabilities to CellScope, a mobile phone based microscope, that will open up new opportunities for diagnosis of tuberculosis, malaria, and other infectious diseases that rely on optical microscopy for primary screening.

Project Vision and Strategy

This project aims to use computational microscopy and coded illumination, two emerging concepts in optical imaging, to improve the contrast, focus and resolution of CellScope images. We will enable super-resolution, dark field, phase contrast and 3D modes, all with a simple and inexpensive hardware modification involving an LED array illuminator.


The CellScope Loa project has produced a successful diagnostic device that has been used to test and treat 16,000 patients for River Blindness (Onchocerciasis) in Cameroon. The research team built and developed several devices including a compact microscopy system with the resolution needed to image parasites in blood, an automated sample scanning system that collects sufficient data from a patient to determine Loa loa parasite load, and a mobile phone app with on-board imaging processing that enables a minimally-trained technician to test for Loa loa in under 2 minutes.

The CellScope Loa is enabling mass drug administration (MDA) campaigns for River Blindness to restart in regions co-endemic with Loa loa, and the device, which allows patients to watch their blood as it is tested, is helping to rebuild trust in health care interventions in rural Africa that have been damaged by deaths from Ivermectin treatment of patients with high Loa loa loads. The research team has established an international partnership between the Centrefor Research on Filariasis and other Tropical Diseases at the University of Yaoundé, the IRD in France, the NIH, and UC Berkeley that will continue to develop innovative healthcare solutions for neglected tropical diseases.

Lead Researchers