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James Duncan, PhD, receives MICCAI's 2017 Enduring Impact Award.

September 15, 2017

James Duncan, PhD, Ebenezer K. Hunt Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, and professor of biomedical engineering, has been awarded the Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention (MICCAI) Society’s top award.

The Enduring Impact Award is given annually to a senior researcher whose work has made an enduring impact on the field of medical image computing and computer assisted interventions. Winners are selected based on their substantial contributions to the field through a combination of originality of research, successful applications, strong clinical applicability, enduring impact, publications, service to the community, and education through support of early career researchers and delivery of high-value educational material.

Duncan uses model-based mathematical strategies to analyze biomedical images. He helped pioneer the use of geometrical models for segmenting deformable (typically anatomical) objects of approximately known shape and for tracking certain forms of non-rigid object motion, and later soft tissue deformation, most notably that of the heart. His seminal work on the use of parameterized global shape models to incorporate a notion of known prior object shape into the segmentation process helped lead the way towards strategies for automatically finding known anatomical structures from a variety of medical and biological images. He and his research collaborators have applied these strategies to locate gray matter structures in the brain, as well structures near the prostate gland.

Duncan also pioneered using shape features on the inner and outer surfaces of the heart wall as material tags for tracking left ventricular motion. This technique was successfully applied to other non-rigid tracking problems in cell biology and became the basis for a variety of efforts internationally. He and his research team used this strategy for more sophisticated analysis in echocardiography. The team’s approach is now recognized in the medical image analysis community as among the first to incorporate true physical models into image analysis strategies. Duncan’s laboratory has also developed initial forms of these techniques to estimate brain shift during epilepsy neurosurgery and guide fractionated prostate radiotherapy, among other uses. His work has resulted in three U.S. patents.

Duncan received the award at MICCAI’s annual conference in Quebec City this week. The award has been given annually since 2009 and is sponsored by Philips.

Submitted by Jill Max on September 15, 2017