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Janet Sheung Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics

Janet Sheung is an experimental biophysicist. As a teacher she relies on her interdisciplinary research orientation to reach and engage a broad student base in the introductory courses, and to bridge the undergraduate curriculum with research and career opportunities in the medical field for interested students. As a scholar she develops and uses novel optical techniques to characterize biological behaviors which test our current state of knowledge, in order to achieve a quantitative understanding of their genetic origin.


  • BS, California Institute of Technology; MS, PhD, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • At Vassar since 2017


Research and Academic Interests

  • Biophysics
  • Optics
  • Physics Education

Departments and Programs


  • Physics 375 - Biological Physics
  • Physics 202 - Introduction to Experimental Physics
  • Physics 203 - Experimental Physics II
  • Physics 114 - Fundamentals of Physics II
  • Physics 113 - Fundamentals of Physics I

Selected Publications

Sheung, J., Ge, P., Lim, S. J., Lee, S. H., Smith, A., Selvin, P. R. Structural Contributions to Hydrodynamic Diameter for Quantum Dots Optimized for Live-Cell Single-Molecule Tracking. J. Phys. Chem. C 122, 30, 17406-17412.

Sheung, J., Qian, J. , Thomasset, M., Manton, J., Bean, S. , Takacs, P. , Dvorak, J. , Assoufid, L. (2017) “Metrology of Variable-Line-Spacing X-ray Gratings using the APS Long Trace Profiler.” "Metrology of variable-line-spacing x-ray gratings using the APS Long Trace Profiler", Proc. SPIE 10385, Advances in Metrology for X-Ray and EUV Optics VII, 1038508; doi: 10.1117/12.2279053.

Slabodnick, M., Prevo, B., Gross, P., Sheung, J., Marshall, W. (2013) “Visualizing Cytoplasmic Flow During Single-cell Wound Healing in Stentor coeruleus.” J. Vis. Exp. (82), e50848, doi: 10.3791/50848.

Wang, Y., Cai, E., Sheung, J., Lee, S. H., Teng, K. W., Selvin, P. R. (2014) “Fluorescence Imaging with One-nanometer Accuracy (FIONA).” J. Vis. Exp. (91), e51774, doi: 10.3791/51774.



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Photo: Photo Credit: Karl Rabe


  • PhD, Physics, University of Illinois, 2017
  • MS, Physics, University of Illinois, 2010
  • BS, Physics, California Institute of Technology, 2007

Teaching Interests

Janet Sheung teaches the first two semesters of introductory physics, Physics 113 and 114, advanced physics laboratory, Physics 202/203, and will teach an advanced topics course in biophysics starting Spring 2019, Physics 375. She is committed to introducing cutting-edge experimental techniques into the undergraduate curriculum by custom building research equipment at reduced costs.

Research Interests

Janet is an experimental biophysicist with broad research interests. Her thesis work addressed a debate within the in-vivo super-resolution microscopy community: reported spatial distributions and diffusive behavior of neuronal receptors were irreconcilable across high-profile studies. Using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy, she demonstrated a size limit at which fluorescent probes impeded the ability of the targeted receptor to navigate the neuronal- and synaptic- environment, thereby causing significant experimental artifacts.

Since then she has collaborated with Argonne National Laboratory to develop optical metrology techniques to characterize diffractive optics. The project addressed a growing need for metrology capabilities and infrastructure in our national laboratories to keep up
with recent advances in the manufacture of scientific diffractive optics. She modified a sub-microradian resolution mirror profiler so it can be used to characterize diffraction gratings. Establishment of operation procedures and calibrations of this instrument is ongoing, in collaboration with the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), and industry partner Inprentus Inc.

She and her students are currently investigating the physical processes involved in regeneration of the unicellular protist, Stentor Coeruleus, and have continued this work at the Marine Biological Laboratory during Summer 2018.