IBIS sees the big picture
This is part one of a four-part series profiling the newly formed Institute for Biomedical Imaging Science.
The recently founded Institute for Biomedical Imaging Science – a partnership of researchers at UH, Methodist Hospital and Cornell University – is intended to foster research among the three institutions, a representative said.
UH computer science professor Ioannis Kakadiaris, chairman of the IBIS steering committee, said the partnership will facilitate cooperation in the field of medical imaging to advance medical diagnosis.
"This institute, it’s a consortium of people that are interested in the use of imaging to promote scientific discovery, and each partner brings strengths in their respective areas," Kakadiaris said.
The main focus of the partnership is not only to promote collaborative research among all three institutions but also to train a new generation of advanced imaging technicians.
"We don’t want an isolated tower of computer scientists knowing only computer science, for example… but give (students) a well-rounded instruction," Kakadiaris said.
Medical imaging is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses, but is not limited to, elements of computer science, engineering, optometry and pharmacy.
Kakadiaris worked on biomedical image analysis – assisting doctors in diagnosing patients are at risk of a heart attack within a year or less – before becoming involved with IBIS.
Researchers are encouraged to join the institute to discuss new ideas that can be applied to patients. Currently, 44 researchers from the University are involved in the institute.
"This institute was created to promote collaborative research," Kakadiaris said. "We are all inclusive; we need everyone’s ideas and contributions in order for this partnership to succeed."
IBIS Director King Li, chair of radiology at Methodist Hospital, said that the institutions’ efforts were vital to the formation of IBIS.
"The major goal is to have the faculty members interacting," Li said.
The IBIS director position will rotate annually between members of the three organizations. Next year, Kakadiaris will succeed Li as director, while associate professor of radiology Robert Min of Cornell will assume the position in 2009. The IBIS steering committee serves as a conduit for coordinating the direction that the research will take and represents the participating researchers’ ideas.
The committee is comprised of 10 members, of whom four are researchers from UH, three from Methodist Hospital and three from Cornell. Research will be conducted in all three locations with a common goal of improving biomedicine imaging.
"The research will be happening at all institutions; the difference will be is that… people with different expertise (will be) viewing the problem from different viewpoints and contributing innovative solutions to long-standing problems in health care," Kakadiaris said.
The partnership will benefit both students and faculty, he said.
"There are two winners – first the students (because) they will benefit from diverse mentorship on really grand challenge problems. Next are the participating faculty, because of the collaborations," he said. "As a result, the institutions will win."