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Yoram Bresler named AIMBE Fellow

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By Charlie Johnson, ECE ILLINOIS
March 18, 2010

  • ECE Professor Yoram Bresler was recently elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).
  • He was recognized for his contributions to fast tomographic reconstruction algorithms, as well as contributions to sampling theory.
  • AIMBE is an organization of medical and biological engineers that seeks to promote awareness and interest in the field of biomedical engineering.

Yoram  Bresler
Yoram Bresler

ECE Professor Yoram Bresler was recently elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) for “pioneering contributions to fast tomographic reconstruction algorithms and fundamental contributions to sampling theory for fast dynamic imaging.” Bresler’s election to the College of Fellows places him in the top 2% of medical and biological engineers nationwide, according to the AIMBE.

“It’s an honor and it’s humbling to see the really outstanding people with illustrious careers and contributions to medical and biological engineering who have been elected as AIMBE Fellows over the years,” said Bresler. “It’s a great honor and a privilege.”

The AIMBE is an organization of medical and biological engineers that seeks to promote awareness and interest in the field of biomedical engineering and be a prominent voice on matters of public policy that effect medical and engineering issues. Members do everything from speaking to students about careers in the biomedical engineering arena to advocating to state and federal lawmakers to work on legislation beneficial to their field and society at large.

“You look at how many lawmakers have an engineering or scientific education and find that only about 10% of them have such background. It is difficult to expect lawmakers to really know what engineering is about. So much of what we do is just promoting awareness of biological and medical engineering and the issues surrounding the field,” said Bresler.

And if there’s one issue in the biological and medical fields that is crying out for help from engineers, at least according to Bresler, it’s the recent debate surrounding health care. One of the most contentious points of redesigning the American health care system is the enormous cost involved in such an overhaul. Many who are involved in setting such policies—lawmakers, doctors, and the medical industry— are forced to reconsider their bottom lines as a result of possible legislative changes, and that can make changes messy.

But, for engineers, balancing cost with benefit is all in a day’s work.

“Engineers are constantly balancing the cost and benefits of everything. They translate the fundamental science of researchers into applications while thinking under cost constraints,” said Bresler. “For example, the cost of health care has risen so much the last thirty years. But, the cost of medical devices, which have advanced technologically so much, have not increased in dollars adjusted for inflation. If we were involved more in health care design, we could very likely bring total cost down.”

Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that Congress will call on the AIMBE for a crack team of biomedical engineers to help author a new healthcare bill.

But Bresler wasn’t elected simply because he might make an effective policy writer or lobbyist. When a doctor performs a CT scan or MRI, the scanner collects a huge amount of data that then needs to be converted into readable images to aid in patient treatment. Bresler has worked to create better and faster methods to image the data collected for CT scans and developed sampling theory for MRI which allows doctors to view movie-like images of a beating heart with a temporal and spatial resolution previously impossible. For his CT application, Bresler started InstaRecon along with a colleague, David Munson, to commercialize the technology and rush it into doctor’s offices. His sampling theory research is currently awaiting clinical trials.

“I enjoy the potential to impact people’s lives through engineering. AIMBE is another way to do that,” said Bresler.

Editor's note: media inquiries should be directed to Brad Petersen, Director of Communications, at bradp@illinois.edu or (217) 244-6376.

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