Hyun K. Kim, PhD

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Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Radiology (Physics) at CUMC

Dr. Hyun Keol Kim is an Assistant Professor of Radiology (Physics) at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Kim earned his PhD. degree in Mechanical Engineering at Korea Advanced Institute of Sciences and Technology (KAIST) in 2004. During this time at KAIST, Dr. Kim studied how spectral remote sensing could be used to recover optical properties such as absorption and scattering inside the medium, via both theoretical modeling and experimental validation. In 2006, he joined Dr. Hielscher's group in Biomedical Engineering of Columbia University and has been involved in various research projects including finger joints, breast cancer, vascular disease, and small animals until 2011. Dr. Kim then joined in 2012 the Department of Radiology as a faculty member at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. 

Dr. Kim has expertise in the development of mathematical and physical models of transport-related biological systems, which includes characterization of light-tissue interaction, 3D imaging of physiological parameters, 3D molecular imaging, and a modeling of chemical species transport. He has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed journal and conference proceedings papers, and also contributed chapters to 2 books on medical imaging and 6 patent applications. Dr. Kim is currently working on the projects “Optical tomographic imaging of Peripheral Arterial Disease”, which is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) of the U.S., and “Development and Commercialization of Low-Cost Vascular Optical Tomographic Imaging System”, a project funded by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.


  • Korean


  • Male

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BS, 1999 Mechanical Engineering, Seoul National University
  • MS, 2001 Radiative Transfer and Imaging, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
  • PhD, 2004 Radiative Transfer and Imaging, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)


My research focuses on the development of novel optical tomographic technologies that can be used on a daily basis in preclinical and clinical applications. To this end we've been developing state-of-the-art imaging hardware and software that provide 3-dimensional distributions of physiologically relevant parameters in biological systems.

Our group is currently applying this emerging technology in clinical and preclinical studies that focus on the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in finger joints, the early detection and treatment monitoring of breast cancer, effects of cerebral ischemia and stroke, and cancer diagnostics based on fluorescence and bioluminescence molecular imaging, assessment of peripheral arterial disease, and detection and monitoring of infantile hemangiomas. The work of the laboratory is supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR).

Research Interests

  • Breast cancer imaging
  • Vascular imaging
  • Skin cancer imaging
  • Computational physics of biological transport systems
  • Finger joints imaging
  • Optical tomographic imaging
  • Bioluminescence tomography
  • Fluorescence tomography

Clinical Trials

  • Optical imaging of rheumatoid arthritis in finger joints
  • Chemotherapy monintoring of breast cancer with diffuse optical tomography
  • Melanoma diagnosis and characterization with diffuse optical tomography
  • Optical tomographic imaging of peripheral arterial disease 
  • Diffuse optical spectroscopic assessment of infantile hemangiomas



Sep 30 2006 - Aug 31 2012


Mar 15 2006 - Oct 31 2011

Selected Publications

  1. H.K. Kim*, J. Jia*, A.H. Hielscher, “Fast linear solver for radiative transport equation with multiple right hand sides in diffuse optical tomography”, Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer 167, 10-22 (2015)(*: equal contribution)
  2. Khalil, M., Kim, H. K. et al, Detection of Peripheral Arterial Disease Within the Foot Using Vascular Optical Tomographic Imaging, European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery 49(1), 83-89 (2015).
  3. Lee, J.H., Kim, H.K, et al, Non-Contact Small Animal Fluorescence Imaging System for Simultaneous Multi-directional Angular-dependent Data Acquisition, Biomed Opt Express 5(7):2301-16 (2014).
  4. Flexman, M. L., Kim, H. K., Gunther, J. E., Lim, E. A., Alvarez, M. C., Desperito, E., & Hielscher, A. H.,  “Optical biomarkers for breast cancer derived from dynamic diffuse optical tomography”, Journal of biomedical optics, 18(9) (2013).
  5. Montejo, L. D., Jia, J., Kim, H. K., Netz, U. J., Blaschke, S., Muller, G. A., & Hielscher, A. H.,”Computer-aided diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis with optical tomography”, Part 2: image classification. Journal of biomedical optics, 18(7) (2013)
  6. Montejo, L. D., Jia J., Kim H. K., Netz U. J., Blaschke S., Muller G. A., and Hielscher, A.H., "Computer-aided diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis with optical tomography, Part 1: feature extraction." Journal of biomedical optics 18, no. 7 (2013)
  7. Sirsi, S.R., Flexman, M.L., Vlachos, F., Huang, J., Hernandez, S.L., Kim, H.K., Johung, T.B., Gander, J.W., Reichstein, A.R., Lampl, B.S., Wang, A., Hielscher, A.H., Kandel, J.J., Yamashiro, D.Y., Borden, M.A. “Contrast Ultrasound Imaging for Identification of Early Responder Tumor Models to Anti-Angiogenic Therapy”, Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, Vol. 38, Issue 6, pp. 1019-1029 (2012).
  8. Khalil, M.A., Kim, H.K., Kim, I.-K., Flexman, M., Dayal, R., Shrikhande, G., Hielscher, A.H., “Dynamic diffuse optical tomography imaging of peripheral arterial disease”, Biomedical Optics Express 3, Issue 9, pp. 2288-2298 (2012).
  9. Kim*, H.K., Flexman* M., Stoll R., Khalil M., Fong C., Hielscher A., “A wireless handheld probe with spectrally-constrained evolution strategies for absolute chromophore measurements and dynamic imaging”, J Biomed Opt. 17, 016014 (2012). (*:equal contribution)
  10. Flexman, M.L., Vlachos, F., Kim, H.K., Huang, J., Hernandez, S.L., Johung, T.J., Gander, J., Reichstein, A., Lampl, B.S., Wang, A., Yamashiro, D.J., Kandel, J.J., Hielscher, A.H. “Monitoring early tumor response to drug therapy with diffuse optical tomography and magnetic resonance imaging”, J Biomed Opt. 17, 016014 (2012).
  11. Flexman, M.L., Kim, H.K., Lim, E., Desperitol, E., Barbour, R.L., Hershman, D.L., Hielscher, A.H., “Detecting Breast Cancer with Dynamic Diffuse Optical Tomographic Imaging”, Cancer Research, Vol.  71(24), Supplement 3, doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.SABCS11-P2-10-09 (2011).
  12. Flexman, M.L., Khalil, M.A., Abdi, R.A., Kim, H.K., Fong, C.J., Barbour, R.R., Desperito, E., Hershman, D., H. Hielscher, A.H., “Digital optical tomography system for dynamic breast imaging”, Journal of Biomedical Optics  16, 076014 (2011).
  13. Hielscher, A.H., Kim, H.K., Montejo, L., Blaschke, S., Netz, U., Zwaka, P., Müller, G, Beuthan , J., “Frequency domain optical tomographic imaging of finger joints” , IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, Issue 99, pp. 1, D.O.I.:10.1109/TMI.2011.2135374 (2011)
  14. H.K. Kim, M. Flexman, D.J. Yamashiro, J. Kandel, and A.H. Hielscher, “PDE-constrained Multispectral Imaging of Tissue Chromophores Concentrations with the Equation of Radiative Transfer,” Biomedical Optics Express, Vol. 1 Issue 3, pp. 812-824 (2010).
  15. H.K. Kim, A.H. Hielscher, “A diffusion-transport hybrid method for frequency domain optical tomography,” Journal of Innovative Optical Health Sciences, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp 1–13 (2010).
  16. H.K. Kim, A.H. Hielscher, “A PDE-constrained SQP algorithm for optical tomography based on the frequency-domain equation of radiative transfer,” Inverse Problems 25, 015010 (2009); online-doi: 10.1088/0266-5611/25/1/015010.
  17. H.K. Kim, U. Netz, J. Beuthan, A.H. Hielscher, “Optimal source-modulation frequencies for transport-theory-based optical tomography of small-tissue volumes” Optics Express 16, pp. 18082–18101(2008).
  18. H.K. Kim, J. Lee, A.H. Hielscher, “PDE-constrained fluorescence tomography with the frequency-domain equation of radiative transfer,” IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics (Lasers in Medicine and Biology), Issue 99, 10.1109/JSTQE.2009.2038112 (2010).
  19. J.Y. Ko, H.K. Kim, T.-H. Song, “Inversion of combustion gas temperature/concentration profile with radiation/turbulence interaction using SRS”, Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, Vol. 110, pp.1199-1206 (2009).
  20. A. Charette, J. Boulanger, H.K. Kim, “An overview on recent radiation transport algorithm development for optical tomography imaging”, Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer 109, pp. 2743-2898 (2008)
  21. H.K. Kim, A. Charette, “Frequency domain optical tomography using a conjugate gradient method without line search”, Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer 104, pp. 248-256 (2007).
  22. H.K. Kim, A. Charette, “A Sensitivity Function-based Conjugate Gradient Method for Optical Tomography based on the Frequency-Domain Equation of Radiative Transfer”, Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer 104, pp.24-39 (2007).
  23. A. Sakurai, T.H. Song, S. Maruyama, S. H.K. Kim, “Comparison of Radiation Element Method and Discrete Ordinates Interpolation Method Applied to Three-Dimensional Radiative Heat Transfer”, JSME International Journal, Series B, Fluids and Thermal Engineering 48(2), pp.259-264 (2005).
  24. H.K. Kim, T.H. Song, “Determination of the Gas Temperature Profile in a Large-Scale Furnace Using a Fast/Efficient Inversion Scheme for the SRS Technique”, J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer 93, pp. 369-381 (2005).
  25. H.K. Kim, T.H. Song, “Characteristics of SRS inversion for measurement of temperature and CO2 concentration profile of a combustion gas layer”, J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer 86, pp.181-199, (2004).
  26. H.K. Kim, T.H. Song, “Measurement of gas temperature distributions in a test furnace using spectral remote sensing”, J. Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transfer 73, pp.517-528 (2002).