Harrison H. Barrett, Scholar and Mentor, Elected to National Academy of Engineering

Dr. Harrison Barrett, Ph.D., Regents Professor, Department of Medical Imaging, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering this past February. Over the course of his 40-year employment at the University Of Arizona, Dr. Harrison H. Barrett has garnered an amazing array of accolades from research prizes to book awards to society fellowships to a Regents’ Professorship. Dr. Barrett’s significant “contributions to the physical and statistical foundations and applications of radiological and nuclear medical imaging,” have been profound.

College of Optical Sciences Dean Thomas L. Koch stated, “Harry Barrett is an icon in the field of image science, and his groundbreaking research in the mathematics of image reconstruction and image quality has had enormous impact in the field of medical imaging.”

Dr. Diego R. Martin agreed. “The UA Center for Gamma-Ray Imaging, which he has pioneered and led, has had an incredible influence on the development of imaging technologies around the country. Having had the opportunity to work with Harry, I can attest to his dedication, brilliance and seemingly limitless energy and enthusiasm.”

Dr. Barrett is one of 67 new members of the National Academy of Engineering. Each member is chosen for their significant contributions in pioneering new and developing fields of technology, developing or implementing innovative approaches to engineering education or making major advances in traditional fields.

Upon hearing of his election, Dr. Barrett’s first response was to thank his colleagues. “I always want to acknowledge the incredible team I have at the Center for Gamma-ray Imaging: Lars R. Furenlid, Eric W. Clarkson, Matthew A. Kupinski, Zhonglin Liu and James Woolfenden. I would also add Luca Caucci, a 2012 graduate of the College of Optical Sciences who is now a junior faculty member in medical imaging, and Gail Stevenson, a veterinarian in the group.”

A recent distinction of which Dr. Barrett is most proud is tied to his enthusiasm for mentorship. As of this past spring, Harrison H. Barrett has advised 50 doctoral students at the College of Optical Sciences, more than any other faculty member in the college’s history. The Program in Applied Mathematics also recognized him for a similar accomplishment during their 35th Anniversary Celebration last month. “I am very proud of them. I have learned far more from them than they have from me,” Barrett said about his mentorees.

Among Barrett’s former students are several current OSC faculty members: Eric W. Clarkson, M.S. 1996; Arthur Gmitro, Ph.D. 1982, John E. Greivenkamp, Ph.D. 1980, Meredith Kupinski, Ph.D. 2008; and Tom D. Milster, Ph.D. 1987. Associate Professor Matthew A. Kupinski also served a postdoctoral fellowship in his lab.

Harrison H. Barrett came to the University of Arizona in 1974 as an associate professor, reporting jointly to the Optical Sciences Center (now the College of Optical Sciences) and the Department of Radiology (now the Department of Medical Imaging). He was named a full professor in 1976 and a Regents’ Professor in 1990. He served as acting director of the Optical Sciences Center in 1983 and as vice chair for research for radiology from 2005 to 2009. He has directed the Center for Gamma-Ray Imaging since 1999.

Barrett is also a professor in the Program for Applied Mathematics, Arizona Cancer Center and Biomedical Engineering Graduate Interdisciplinary Program.

Release Date: 
09/18/2014 - 3:05pm