Harrison H. Barrett, PhD

Vice Head of Radiology Research

Professor of Radiology

Regents Professor of Optical Sciences

E-Mail Address: 
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-6815
Short Bio: 

Dr. Harrison H. Barrett is a Regents' Professor in the Department of Radiology within the College of Medicine (COM) and in the College of Optical Sciences.

He earned his PhD in Applied Physics in 1969 from Harvard University while employed by Raytheon Research Division in Waltham, Mass., as a Senior Research Scientist. He stayed with Raytheon as a Project Leader in the Medical Electronics department until 1974, when he accepted a joint appointment of Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology and College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Barrett was appointed Professor in both colleges in 1976 and Regents' Professor in 1990. He also currently holds an appointment of Professor within the Program of Applied Mathematics, the Program in Biomedical Engineering, and the University of Arizona Cancer Center.

Dr. Barrett is Director of the Center for Gamma Ray Imaging (CGRI), founded with a large Research Resource Grant from the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and continuously funded since 1999.

This 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-modality imaging.

• Methods for molecular imaging.

Dr. Barrett also has a MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) grant from NIBIB. Funded since 1992, the objective of this grant is to develop specialized parallel computers and apply them to medical imaging.

Current work concentrates on the latest generation of graphics processing units (GPUs). His group has demonstrated huge increases in processing speed in various problems of image reconstruction and optimal parameter estimation.

In his capacity as the Director of CGRI, Dr. Barrett collaborates with roughly 40 groups around the world, often supplying them with advanced detectors, imaging systems, or algorithms tailored to their specific research needs.

Throughout his career, Dr. Barrett has directly supervised 54 PhD dissertations, 20 masters theses, and approximately 10 postdoctoral fellows.

Research Information
Research Program: 
2. Cancer Imaging
Member Status: 
Summary of Research Activity: 

Inverse problems in medicine; applications of statistical decision theory. General research occurs in the areas of medical imaging, three-dimensional reconstruction, and investigations of image quality.

Research in the area of nuclear medicine includes a program to study various aspects of nuclear imaging, especially tumor detection. Tumors made radioactive by tumor-seeking radio-pharmaceuticals will be detected at an early stage by imaging equipment now being developed.

A modular scintillation camera with digital electronics is used to detect Gamma Ray images formed by coded apertures. Three-dimensional images are reconstructed by various algorithms.

Professional Information
Professional Affiliations: 

American Institute of Medical and Biological Imaging, Fellow
American Physical Society, Fellow
OSA, Fellow
Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Senior Fellow

SPIE, Gold Medal of the Society, 2011
IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology, 2011
SPIE/Optical Society of America Joseph W. Goodman Book Writing Award (with Kyle Myers), 2006
Optical Society of America, C.E.K. Mees Medal, 2005
IEEE Medical Imaging Scientist Award, 2000
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Humboldt Prize, 1980
Industrial Research Magazine, IR-100 Award, 1973
Society of Nuclear Medicine Scientific Exhibit Awards, First Prize 1991, Silver Medal 1972, Bronze Medals 1973, 1975, 1983, 1984, 1985, Honorable Mention 1983
Academic Information
PhD, Harvard University, 1969
Master's Degree: 
MS, MIT, 1962
Undergraduate School: 
BS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 1960