Monday, June 22, 2009

A couple of academic satires

Taking a day off after the ASME Summer Bioengineering Conference, I started, and then promptly finished, "Portuguese Irregular Verbs",  an affectionate satire of academics, tracking the exploits of Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld and his colleagues, Professor Dr Detlev Amadeus Unterholzer and Professor Dr Dr Florianus Prinzel, denizens of the fictional -- in case there was any doubt -- Institute of Romance Philology in Regensburg.  Many thanks to Frau Dr Marilyn Riederer, for sending this book to Frau Dr Dr Dolores Steinman; and to Frau Dr Dr Steinman for encouraging me to read it (and also for encouraging me to take a day off).

While I'm at it, I also recommend "Bellwether", a not-inaccurate satire of life at a research institute, which I read several years ago while working at, well, a research institute.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

ISMRM Flow & Motion Workshop

Abstract submission deadline for the ISMRM Cardiovascular Flow, Function & Tissue Mechanics Workshop in Sintra, Portugal, is less than a month away. As one of the organizers, I have it on good authority that abstracts will be reviewed, and authors notified, within less than a week from the July 17 deadline :-)

In addition to two days focused on the state-of-the-art in MRI-derived flow and motion measurements, one day will be devoted to image-based modelling. Ross Ethier, Luca Antiga and I will review the basics, while Juan Cebral, Frank Gijsen and Charley Taylor will present the state-of-the-art in applications.

This is a unique opportunity for clinicians, imagers, and modellers to get together and discuss the promises and pitfalls of deriving functional information from various combinations of imaging and modelling.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Three graces

It was our pleasure to have Anna DumitriuKatja Mayer, and Gordana Novakovic visit our lab, to tell us about the work they are doing at the interface of art and science, as a preview of their presentations at the Subtle Technologies Festival.

Anna told us about some of the work going on at her Institute of Unnecessary Research, notably her efforts to communicate with soil bacteria around the world. Katja provided some history and perspectives on the visualization of networks -- a word, she tells us, that has its origins in the Renaissance studies of blood vessels.  Gordana talked about her Fugue, an installation that serves as an inspiration for multisensory explorations of complex scientific data.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

From biomedical engineering theory to clinical practice

As biomedical engineers, we are often engaged, explicitly or implicitly, in the search for better markers of risk for the diseases or treatments that motivate our research.  A recent scientific statement from the AHA, "Criteria for Evaluation of Novel Markers of Cardiovascular Risk", serves as an informative and important reminder that our efforts are usually just the tip of the iceberg.