Tao Sun

Assistant Professor,  Bioengineering


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  • 206C ISEC

Research Focus

Focused Ultrasound, Ultrasound Imaging, Neuroimaging, Drug Delivery, Immunomodulation and Immunoengineering, Gliomblastoma, Alzheimer’s Disease


Tao Sun is an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering and a core member of Institute of Chemical Imaging of Living Systems (CILS) at Northeastern University. He joined Northeastern in January 2023 after postdoctoral trainings from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Engineering School (Bioengineering), and an Instructor role with Harvard Medical School.

Tao has received many recognitions for his scientific contributions to the fields of focused ultrasound, drug delivery, cancer immunoengineering, and neuroimaging. He is a recipient of the Young Investigator Awards from Focused Ultrasound Foundation (2022) and Acoustical Society of America (2021). Some of his first-author works were published in high-profile journals including PNAS, Journal of Controlled Release, Applied Physics Letters, Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, and were featured in mainstream science and technology media including WIRED, Science Daily, and Medical Xpress.


  • Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, Tufts University
  • M.S., Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University
  • B.S., Acoustics, Nanjing University

Honors & Awards

  • Young Investigator Award, Focused Ultrasound Foundation, 2022
  • Young Investigator Award, Acoustical Society of America, 2021

Teaching Interests

BIOE 5235 – Biomedical Imaging

BIOE 5800 – Systems, Signals, and Controls for Bioengineers

Leadership Positions

  • Associate Editor – Frontiers of Acoustics

Professional Affiliations

  • Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)
  • The Acoustical Society of America (ASA)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) – Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society
  • International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound (ISTU)

Research Overview

Focused Ultrasound, Ultrasound Imaging, Neuroimaging, Drug Delivery, Immunomodulation and Immunoengineering, Gliomblastoma, Alzheimer’s Disease

The Sun Ultrasound and Neuroengineering (SUN) Lab works at the intersection of focused ultrasound (FUS), neuroimaging and immunoengineering with expertise in developing ultrasound devices, imaging methods and engineered cell systems to modulate the neuro-immune interface and their applications in immunomodulation, drug delivery, and cell-based theranostic systems.

The goal of his research program is to unveil how FUS modulates the neuroimmune disease/aging environment and to develop ultrasound-based techniques for treating and monitoring neurological disorders, such as glioblastoma and Alzheimer’s disease, and beyond.

Selected Publications

  • Sun T, Zhang Y, Power C, Alexander P, Sutton J, Aryal M, Vykhodtseva N, Miller E, McDannold N, “Closed-loop control of targeted ultrasound drug delivery across the blood-brain/tumor barriers in a rat glioma model,’’ PNAS, 114(48): E10281-E10290 (2017)
  • Dasgupta A#, Sun T#, Palomba R, …, McDannold N, Mitragotri S, and Lammers T, “Nonspherical ultrasound microbubbles,” PNAS, 120(13): e2218847120 (2023) (# denotes equal contributions)
  • Sun T#, Krishnan V#, Zhang Y, Power C, Kim J, Ravid S, Pan D, Aydin SA, Karp J, McDannold N, Mitragotri S, “Ultrasound‐mediated delivery of flexibility‐tunable polymer drug conjugates for treating glioblastoma,” Bioengineering & Translational Medicine, e10408, (2022) (# denotes equal contributions)
  • Sun T, Shi Q, Zhang Y, Power C, Hoesch C, Antonelli S, Schroeder M, Caldarone B, Taudte N, Schenk M, Hettmann T, Schilling S, McDannold N, Lemere C, “Focused ultrasound with anti-pGlu3 Aβ enhances efficacy in Alzheimer’s disease-like mice via recruitment of peripheral immune cells,” Journal of Controlled Release, 336: 443-456 (2021)
  • Sun T, Dasgupta A, Zhao Z, Nurunnabi M, Mitragotri S, “Physical triggering strategies for drug delivery,” Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 158: 36-62 (2020)
  • Sun T, Sutton J, Power C, Zhang Y, Miller E, McDannold N, “Transcranial cavitation-mediated ultrasound therapy at sub-MHz frequency via temporal interference modulation,” Applied Physics Letters, 111(16): 163701 (2017)


Aug 09, 2023

Northeastern’s Tao Sun Overcomes Barriers to Brain Drug Delivery with Focused Ultrasound

BioE Assistant Professor Tao Sun is exploring the use of ultrasound and tiny bubbles to deliver drugs to the brain more effectively, potentially aiding in treating conditions like Alzheimer’s and brain cancer. Results of his research were published in the journal PNAS.

Tao Sun


Apr 05, 2023

Nonspherical Ultrasound Microbubbles

Bioengineering Assistant Professor Tao Sun recently published postdoctoral research on “Nonspherical ultrasound microbubbles,” in PNAS. Microbubbles (MB) are widely used for ultrasound imaging and ultrasound-mediated drug delivery; thus far, only spherical MB have been employed. Sun’s research shows that it is possible to generate nonspherical MB, which move closer to blood vessel walls and have longer circulation times in vivo upon intravenous administration in mice. Combined with transcranial focused ultrasound, nonspherical MB outperformed spherical MB in temporarily permeabilizing the blood–brain barrier, opening new avenues for drug delivery.

Tao Sun


Dec 20, 2022

New Faculty Spotlight: Tao Sun

Tao Sun joins the Bioengineering department in January 2023 as an Assistant Professor.

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