Tsu-Te Judith Su

Associate Professor of Optical Sciences
Judy Su Headshot

BSRL 178
Wyant College of Optical Sciences
University of Arizona
1630 E. University Blvd.
P.O. Box 210094
Tucson, AZ 85721-0041

Additional Affiliations

  • Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Professional Affiliations and Activities

  • Board of Scientific Counselors, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Femtoray Technologies
  • International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV): Member
  • Materials Research Society (MRS): Member
  • OSA: Life Member
  • SPIE: Life Member
  • University of Arizona Cancer Center: Associate Member
  • Editorial Board, Translational Biophotonics (Wiley-VCH publishing)

Awards and Honors

  • Participant, 2nd U.S.-Africa Frontiers of Science, Engineering, and Medicine symposium, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, 2024
  • Photonics 100, 2024, ElectroOptics, given to the industry's most innovative people
  • Journal of Phys Photonics Early Career Award, 2023
  • University Early Career Innovation & Entrepreneurship Award, University of Arizona, 2023
  • NSF CAREER Award, 2023
  • University of Arizona, Inaugural Class, Women of Impact, 2022
  • SPIE, Senior Member, 2022
  • University of Arizona, College of Engineering, Dean's Award for Outstanding Early Career Faculty, 2022 (awarded to one for excellence in teaching, research, and service)
  • National Academy of Inventors, Senior Member, 2022
  • Optica, Senior Member, 2021
  • NIH R35 Outstanding Investigator Award, 2020
  • Sigma Xi Member, 2020
  • Featured in the 2020 SPIE Women in Optics planner which highlights "women who are making a difference through their work and other contributions to the fields of science, optics, and engineering".
  • Outstanding Paper Award, Light: Science & Applications, 2019
  • George H. Davis Travel Fellowship, University of Arizona, 2019
  • American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery Dr. Horace Furumoto Innovations Professional Young Investigator Award, 2019
  • Scialog Fellow, Research Corporation & Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, 2018
  • Optical Society of America's Siegman International School Lecturer, 2017
  • Work on single molecule detection was highlighted as one of the top accomplishments in the general field of Optics, Optics & Photonics News, 2016
  • Short Oral Presentation Winner, GTCbio's Cancer Markers & Liquid Biopsies Conference, 2015
  • NIH Training Grant in Cellular and Molecular Biology, 2006-2009
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 2002-2005
  • Pademakar P. Lele Best Undergraduate Thesis Proposal Award, MIT, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, 2001

Specific Research Interests

  • Biosensing and imaging
  • Label-free single molecule detection
  • Medical diagnostics
  • Microfluidics
  • Micropatterning of extracellular matrix molecules for cellular control 
  • Optical resonators
  • Using magnetic and optical tweezers to study cellular dynamics

Research Summary

Judith Su's background is in imaging, microfabrication and optical instrument building for biological and medical applications. In general, her research interests are to use imaging, sensing and rheological techniques to reveal basic biological functions at the molecular, cellular and tissue levels. Recently her work has centered on label‐free single molecule detection using microtoroid optical resonators with an eye on basic research, and translational medicine through the development of miniature field portable devices.


  • Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Caltech, 2014
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, MIT, 2004
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, MIT, 2002