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Daniel J. Licht, MD
Daniel J. Licht Headshot
Director, Neurovascular Imaging Lab

Dr. Licht is the director of the Wolfson Family Laboratory for Clinical and Biomedical Optics. His research focuses on the development and use of novel noninvasive optical devices to probe cerebrovascular hemodynamics and physiology in vivo. These devices are used in clinical and preclinical studies to discover the timing and causes of brain injury during care.



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Among his notable research accomplishments, Dr. Licht was the first to:

  • Bring arterial spin labeled perfusion MRI to pediatric patient populations (2003)
  • First to bring diffuse correlation spectroscopy and frequency domain diffuse optical spectroscopy to pediatric patient populations (2007)
  • First to demonstrate that brain maturation in full-term infants with severe congenital heart defects was delayed and that this delay in maturation was the primary risk for developing white matter injury both before and after early heart surgery
  • First to demonstrate the pathological perinatal cerebral physiology that leads to white matter injury as infants wait for surgery after birth

Education and Training

BA, New York University (Biochemistry), 1984

MD, New Jersey Medical School-UMDNJ, 1997

Fellowship, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Epilepsy, Neurology), 2004

Titles and Academic Titles

Director of the June and Steve Wolfson Laboratory for Clinical and Biomedical Optics

Professor of Neurology

Department of Pediatrics Distinguished Endowed Chair

Professional Memberships

Society for Pediatric Research

American Academy of Neurology

Child Neurology Society

American Stroke Association

International Pediatrics Stroke Study

International Society for Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism

Cardiovascular Institute (CVI), University of Pennsylvania, 2007-

Institute of Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT), University of Pennsylvania, 2007-

Professional Awards

Master Clinician, CHOP, 2009

CHOP Research institute Award for Excellence in Mentoring Research Trainees, 2017

CHOP Faculty Mentor Award, 2017

Carole Marcus Mid-Career Award to Promote Career Development and Mentoring in Pediatric Research, CHOP, 2018

Luigi Mastroianni Clinical Innovator Award, University of Pennsylvania, 2019

Publication Highlights

Mavroudis CD, Mensah-Brown KG, Ko TS, Boorady TW, Massey SL, Abend NS, Nicolson SC, Morgan RW, Mascio CE, Gaynor JW, Kilbaugh TJ, Licht DJ. Electroencephalographic Response to Deep Hypothermic Circulatory Arrest in Neonatal Swine and Humans. Ann Thorac Surg. 2018 Dec; 106(6):1841-1846. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2018.06.036. Epub 2018 Jul 30. PMID: 30071237
Ko TS, Mavroudis CD, Baker WB, Morano VC, Mensah-Brown K, Boorady TW, Schmidt AL, Lynch JM, Busch DR, Gentile J, Bratinov G, Lin Y, Jeong S, Melchior RW, Rosenthal TM, Shade BC, Schiavo KL, Xiao R, Gaynor JW, Yodh AG, Kilbaugh TJ, Licht DJ. Non-invasive optical neuromonitoring of the temperature-dependence of cerebral oxygen metabolism during deep hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass in neonatal swine. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2018 Oct; 271678X18809828. doi: 10.1177/0271678X18809828. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 30375917
Lynch JM, Buckley EM, Schwab PJ, McCarthy AL, Winters ME, Busch DR, Xiao R, Goff DA, Nicolson SC, Montenegro LM, Fuller S, Gaynor JW, Spray TL, Yodh AG, Naim MY, Licht DJ. Time to surgery and preoperative cerebral hemodynamics predict postoperative white matter injury in neonates with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2014 Nov; 148(5):2181-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2014.05.081. Epub 2014 Jun 27. PMID: 25109755
Jain V, Buckley EM, Licht DJ, Lynch JM, Schwab PJ, Naim MY, Lavin NA, Nicolson SC, Montenegro LM, Yodh AG, Wehrli FW. Cerebral oxygen metabolism in neonates with congenital heart disease quantified by MRI and optics. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2014 Mar; 34(3):380-8. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2013.214. Epub 2013 Dec 11. PMID: 24326385
Licht DJ, Shera DM, Clancy RR, Wernovsky G, Montenegro LM, Nicolson SC, Zimmerman RA, Spray TL, Gaynor JW, Vossough A. Brain maturation is delayed in infants with complex congenital heart defects. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2009 Mar; 137(3):529-36; discussion 536-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2008.10.025. PMID: 19258059