Biomedical Imaging

The Biomedical Imaging focus in the PhD program at Johns Hopkins BME offers the opportunity for graduate students to perform research at the fundamental level of image science, analysis, and modeling as well as in the development of cutting edge imaging technologies in translation to first clinical use. With imaging as a central science of measurement in diagnosing and treating disease, BME imaging faculty include leaders in image analysis, new technologies in every modality, and multi-disciplinary collaboration with clinical experts in radiology, surgery, cardiology, oncology, and neuroscience.

Researchers are linking the anatomical data, collected with emerging imaging technologies, to computer simulations to form truly functional images of individual patients. These images will allow physicians not only to see what a patient's organs look like but also how they are functioning even at the smallest scale. A major challenge is how to store, analyze, distribute, understand and use the enormous amount of data associated with every one of these thousands of images.

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Associated Primary Faculty

Associated Research Faculty

Imaging Physics, Technology and Systems: MRI, X-Ray and CT, Optical, Ultrasound, and Nuclear Medicine

Underlying the development of new imaging systems is research in the mathematics and physics of image formation, image reconstruction, and image quality. Such research is intrinsic to all medical imaging modalities, including optical, ultrasound, magnetic resonance (MR), x-ray computed tomography (CT), and nuclear imaging (PET, SPECT), and understanding the performance of such systems often builds from models and measurements grounded in imaging physics. For example, the physics of image formation in CT is key to understanding the tradeoffs among spatial resolution, image noise, and radiation dose, and the development of new CT systems offering higher levels of image quality and reduced dose gains tremendously from such a rigorous foundation. Equally important is the mathematics of statistical processes, estimation theory, and optimization intrinsic to advanced methods of image reconstruction. Not only does imaging physics provide a foundation for such research, it accelerates the translation of new imaging systems to clinical application by guiding their design and development and ensuring performance consistent with imaging tasks ranging from diagnostic radiology to image-guided interventions.

Faculty in this Area

Image Science and Computational Imaging

Researchers at the Center for Imaging Science (CIS) are developing systems that can interpret images of natural scenes, for example ordinary indoor and outdoor photographs, CT scans and other data obtained with bio-medical imaging devices, and aerial and satellite images acquired by remote sensing. Though great advances have been made in the acquisition of image data, e.g., the development of cameras and other imaging devices, and though the semantic understanding of the shapes and other objects appearing in images is effortless for human beings, the corresponding problem in machine perception, namely automatic interpretation via computer programs, remains a major open challenge in modern science. In fact, there are very few systems whose value derives from the analysis rather than production image data, and this "semantic gap" impedes scientific and technological advances in many areas, including automated medical diagnosis, industrial automation, and effective security and surveillance.

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Translational Imaging: Imaging for Basic Research, Pre-Clinical Imaging, Diagnostic Imaging, and Image-Guided Interventions

Translational imaging research is inspired by the increasing needs in basic research and clinical medicine for innovative imaging technologies capable of providing anatomical, functional and molecular information with much improved spatial and temporal resolution, enhanced or brand-new contrast mechanisms, and reduced invasiveness to patients and operators. It involves multiple and diverse research teams, who are committed to advancement of cutting-edge and development of brand-new imaging and image processing technologies to meet the above needs. The translational imaging program is multi-disciplinary in nature, offering a synergistic environment to foster collaborations among imaging experts, biologists, and clinical investigators. The research often involves a feedback loop, starting from the needs and new ideas, to engineering realization, bench-top testing, feasibility studies, and ultimately translation of laboratory breakthroughs to new discovery and clinical practice. Fueled by various training grants, the translational imaging program also offers a rich and rigorous training environment for students and postdoctoral fellows to become future imaging experts.

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Associated Hopkins Imaging Community

Training Program for Translational Research in Imaging creates mentorship teams for PhD trainees that will produce imaging scientists who are able to invent new techniques and translate those techniques into clinical use. The training program builds on the existing Johns Hopkins research community in imaging applications. The Department of Biomedical Engineering thanks the Division of Medical Imaging Physics and the Hopkins Imaging Initiative for providing funding and training for PhD students.