Cancer Center imaging researcher receives two international awards

Harrison H. Barrett, PhD
Harrison H. Barrett, PhD

Harrison H. Barrett, PhD, Regents’ Professor of optical sciences and professor of radiology at the University of Arizona and University of Arizona Cancer Center member has received recognition from two international professional organizations.

Dr. Barrett has been honored with the SPIE 2011 Gold Medal, and the IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology.

The Gold Medal of the Society is the highest honor SPIE awards. Beginning in 1977, it has been given annually in recognition of outstanding engineering or scientific accomplishment in optics, electro-optics, or photographic technologies or applications. Dr. Barrett was honored Aug. 24 at SPIE’s Optics and Photonics conference in San Diego.

The Gold Medal recognizes Dr. Barrett’s efforts in advancing the understanding of image science, formulating rigorous mathematical approaches to the assessment and optimization of image quality and developing numerous innovative photon imaging systems. His current work concentrates on the latest generation of graphics processing units – GPUs.

Dr Barrett is director of the UA’s Center for Gamma Ray Imaging, which applies the principles of imaging science to nuclear medicine and other modalities. The center engages in technology development in five projects relevant to the use of radiotracers in medicine, including: Gamma Ray detectors; electronics and imaging systems; image science and image quality; adaptive and multi-modal imaging; and methods of molecular imaging.

Dr. Barrett is contributing his SPIE Gold Medal honorarium to the Arizona Cancer Center for cancer research.

At the San Diego conference, University of Arizona optical sciences graduate Robert Breault, PhD, founder of Breault Research Organization Inc. in Tucson, was honored with the SPIE Directors’ Award, and Masud Mansuripur, PhD, chair of optical data storage and professor of Optical Sciences, was named a Fellow of the Society.

Previous SPIE Gold Medal winners from the University of Arizona include H. Angus Macleod (1987); Robert R. Shannon (1996); Marjorie and Aden Meinel (1997); William L. Wolfe (1999); James C. Wyant (2003); and Roland V. Shack (2004).

Dr. Barrett was honored by IEEE on Aug. 20 at the organization’s Honors Ceremony in San Francisco. The medal, sponsored by the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, recognizes Dr. Barrett for pioneering contributions to the foundation and applications of biomedical imaging science.

“Dr. Barrett’s research in image-quality assessment has revolutionized how medical imaging systems are evaluated. He and his group have implemented numerical observers that allow a computer to analyze images during an experiment instead of using human observers, overcoming what can be a lengthy process,” the IEEE said in announcing the award. “His work has led to improved understanding of single photon emission computer tomography (SPECT) imaging which uses gamma rays to provide three-dimensional imaging of the brain, tumors, bone and internal organs.”