F. Stuart Foster’s pioneering development of micro-ultrasound technology has enabled powerful high-resolution noninvasive imaging to better understand disease development and aid in the evaluation of new therapeutic treatments. He adapted his early high-resolution ultrasound work regarding miniature intravascular imaging catheters based on single-element mechanically scanned ultrasound transducers to larger external array transducers that could image small animals with high ultrasound resolution never before achievable. The visualization of tissue microstructure and functional status allowed by micro-ultrasound has now found clinical applications in high-resolution prostate imaging, ocular imaging, dermatology, and guided neurosurgical interventions. Foster’s recent innovations include a photoacoustic system that combines the high resolution of ultrasound with the high tissue contrast provided by optical pulses.
An IEEE Fellow and an elected foreign member of the US National Academy of Engineering, Foster is currently a senior scientist with the Sunnybrook Research Institute and professor with the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The technologies conceived and developed by Matthew O’Donnell have transformed real-time ultrasonic imaging into a leading diagnostic tool. Envisioning a new approach to medical imaging, O’Donnell used the power of digital processing to address fundamental issues that limited image quality by employing real-time, adaptive array processing to overcome phase aberrations. Current high-end scanners feature many of the concepts developed by O’Donnell during the 1980s. He has also led the integration of real-time imaging systems into therapeutic devices, such as a synthetic imaging approach where the entire ultrasound array and front-end electronics are integrated into the tip of a coronary catheter. Other important contributions to medical imaging include his MRI phase contrast pulse sequence integral to today’s MRI angiography procedures.
An IEEE Life Fellow, O’Donnell is a professor and Dean Emeritus with the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.
A pioneer in vision restoration, Mark S. Humayun’s development of the Argus II bioelectric artificial retina is improving patient quality of life by restoring sight to the blind. The first and to date only artificial retina to be both approved by the U.S. FDA and receive the European CE mark, the device receives image data from an external camera that is wirelessly transmitted to an electronic array implanted on the retina, enabling patients who are blind to recover enough vision to see letters and large objects and navigate obstacles. Key to the realization of the implant was Humayun’s ability to lead diverse teams of engineers and combine the unique elements of electrical/biomechanical engineering, optics, materials science, and miniaturization. Humayun’s current focus with the implant is on providing color vision and the ability to read smaller text.
The pioneering work of Bin He has transformed electroencephalography (EEG) from a one-dimensional detection modality to an important noninvasive three-dimensional neuroimaging tool for brain research and management of brain disorders. He developed anatomically constrained brain source localization by introducing the boundary element method, which has significantly advanced the field of multimodal neuroimaging. He has changed the understanding of what noninvasive brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) can do. Using an array of electrode sensors placed over the scalp, He developed novel BCI techniques to demonstrate that a human can control the flight of a drone with their mind through reading the EEG signals. He’s neuroimaging innovations are playing an important role in the diagnosis and management of disorders including epilepsy, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease.
An IEEE Fellow, he is the Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
A world-renowned leader of biomedical ultrasound technology, K. Kirk Shung’s pioneering discoveries have contributed significantly to the health and welfare of society. His early work involving the interaction of ultrasound and blood has set the standard for research activities and the development of diagnostic ultrasound equipment. His study led to a thorough understanding of the origin of echogenicity of biological tissues in an ultrasonic image. Shung is also credited for developing the world's first high-frequency linear array at 30 MHz for imaging, an important technological breakthrough in the field. His recent innovations include applying high-frequency ultrasound beams to trap microparticles and cells and in assessing cellular responses to ultra-high-frequency ultrasound stimulation.
An IEEE Life Fellow, Shung is the Dean’s Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
For outstanding contributions to biomedical circuit technology
A visionary leader in the field of biomedical circuits and systems, Christofer Toumazou’s groundbreaking contributions to the design, implementation, and clinical application of integrated microchip technology solutions for intelligent diagnostics and therapy have transformed medical practice. In 2001, Dr. Toumazou developed semiconductor genomic sequencing. Other achievements include cochlear implants for children born deaf, an artificial pancreas for type 1 diabetics, wireless heart monitors for personalized ambulatory care, semiconductor-based DNA sequencing, and an intelligent neural stimulator as a drug alternative for obesity. In 1994, Dr. Toumazou became the youngest professor to be appointed at Imperial College London.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Toumazou is founder and Chief Scientist of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Imperial College London and founder of three successful healthcare companies (Toumaz, DNA Electronics, and GENEU).
For pioneering photoacoustic tomography
Lihong Wang’s development of photoacoustic tomography for high-resolution imaging of living tissue at scales ranging from subcellular organelles to organs has profoundly impacted biology and medicine. Photoacoustic tomography overcomes the limits of optical diffusion for high-resolution cross-sectional imaging of living tissue at levels deeper than alternative optical imaging methods, and Prof. Wang has developed the most important breakthroughs in the field. He invented and demonstrated the first in vivo photoacoustic microscopy system for functional imaging of the concentration and oxygen saturation in blood, which is important in cancer detection. His ring-shaped photoacoustic computed tomography achieved the first functional imaging of the brain and provided cross-sectional imaging of liver, kidneys, and bladder of small animals.
An IEEE Fellow, Prof. Wang is the Gene K. Beare Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA.
For developing quantitative methods to characterize the electromagnetic fields in excitable tissue, leading to a better understanding of the electrophysiology of nerve, muscle, and brain
Robert Plonsey is considered the father of bioelectricity principles for his foundational work on methods to understanding the electrical properties of biological cells and tissues. Dr. Plonsey’s contributions have provided a sound scientific basis for clinically interpreting bioelectric signals from electrophysiology tools such as electrocardiograms, electroencephalograms, and electromyograms. His mathematical basis for explaining bioelectric phenomena set the foundation for what would become known as bioelectric biomedical engineering. Dr. Plonsey’s classic textbook, Bioelectric Phenomena (McGraw-Hill, 1969), was the first book published on the topic. Some of Dr. Plonsey’s most influential work has focused on electrical properties of the heart, with important discoveries for understanding defibrillation. He helped develop the bidomain model during the 1970s, which is widely used to model heart defibrillation.
An IEEE Life Fellow and member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Plonsey is Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, Durham, NC, USA.