Atam Dhawan, PhD, professor and chairman of the department of electrical and computer engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), was selected to serve as chairman of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) International Conference of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.
As chairman Dhawan, a pioneering researcher who invented an optical instrument that allows for the early detection of skin-cancer, will oversee the entire proceedings of the conference.
The conference, scheduled for Aug. 30-Sept. 3, 2006 at the Times Square Marriott Hotel in Manhattan, will focus on the engineering revolutions in biomedicine. Prominent researchers will discuss advances in medical physics, biological and biomedical sciences as well as biomedical and clinical engineering.
“During the conference, leading researchers, engineers and scientists will announce the breakthroughs they’ve achieved in these fields,” added Dhawan, of Randolph. “We’ve received more than 2,000 papers for presentations and expect to have 2,500 people from all over the world attend the conference. It’s the largest meeting of biomedical engineers and scientists in the world and I’m excited and honored to be a part of it.”
NJIT is also hosting the conference website: http://embc2006.njit.edu.
The IEEE chose Dhawan to chair the conference because of his major contributions to the field of biomedical engineering. In 2004, Dhawan was named an IEEE Fellow, the highest professional honor bestowed by the institute. At that time, IEEE cited him for his research on optical imaging of skin-lesions and for discovering a new method of medical-image analysis.
Malignant melanoma is the leading killer among dermatological diseases and the most lethal skin cancer. Structural and morphological changes of the pigmented lesion are important for the early detection of melanoma. Dhawan’s optical instrument, called a Nevoscope, captures images of the changing skin-lesions and detects skin-cancers. The Nevoscope has been commercialized by Translite Inc., of Houston, Texas, which is using it to develop a line of products for skin-lesion and vein imaging.
Dhawan’s research has also shown how optical wavelengths can be used for multi-spectral imaging of skin-lesions, which can aid the early detection of skin-cancer. He has also developed several medical image algorithms, which have been used for diagnostic radiological applications, including the enhancement of mammographic images as well as the tissue characterization of brain images.
Dhawan selected the conference’s keynote speaker, Nora Volkow, PhD, an expert in brain imaging who directs the National Institute of Drug Abuse, and
selected the seven plenary speakers - all internationally known scientists and researchers working in myriad fields: molecular imaging, nano-bio-technology, neural engineering, computational biology, pharmaceutical engineering, functional tissue engineering and bio-counterterrorism.
The conference will also host a student competition, during which national and international students will compete for best research paper and best design awards. Several of the student activities, including a tour of the NJIT campus and its biomedical engineering department, are being organized by Tara Alvarez, PhD, an assistant professor in NJIT’s Biomedical Engineering Department.
Throughout his career, Dhawan’s research has been recognized by IEEE, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and professional societies. He received the First Prize and the Martin Epstein Award at the International Conference on Computer Applications sponsored by the biomedical and medical professional societies in 1984; the NIH First Independent Research, Science and Technology Award in 1988; the Sigma-Xi Young Investigator Award in 1992, given by Sigma Xi, the national scientific research honor society; and the IEEE Early Career Achievement Award in 1995 for his work in 3-D optical imaging, reconstruction and characterization of skin-lesions. Dhawan has published more than 150 research papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. In addition, he has published five book chapters and three books. His most recent book, Medical Image Analysis, was published jointly by John Wiley Publishers and IEEE Press in June 2003.