Thomas Budinger: Better medical imaging
When the Department of Bioengineering was founded 20 years ago, it was the first new department to be established at Berkeley Engineering in over 40 years. What began as an expansion of the highly successful UC Berkeley – UCSF bioengineering graduate program has now become one of the top bioengineering schools in the country, thanks in no small part to its founding chair, Thomas Budinger, professor emeritus of bioengineering and of electrical engineering and computer sciences.
Not only did Budinger lead the department during its formative years, but he is also a world-renowned researcher in medical imaging instrumentation and data analysis. Much of his work has focused on the safe use of radiation, including radiotracer technologies for positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), as well as techniques for tomographic image reconstruction. He also holds 10 patents, spanning the fields of oceanography, space radiation, nuclear medicine and medical imaging.
In recognition of his groundbreaking work and leadership, Budinger has received numerous awards over the course of his career, including the Berkeley Citation, one of the university’s highest honors. In 1996, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering “for contributions in quantitative medical imaging and safety of space exploration and experimentation.”