Andrew Dunn, Ph.D., professor and director of the center for emerging imaging technologies at The University of Texas at Austin, is the recipient of the 2017 TAMEST Edith and Peter O'Donnell Award in Engineering.
Dunn has developed technology that allows us to see things we haven’t seen before in the human brain. Through his laser speckle imaging technique, we can now see blood flowing in the brain in real time, allowing us to see where clots are forming. This allows neurosurgeons to easily identify areas suffering from reduced blood flow and prevent strokes. “He has developed this magnificent laboratory and exceptional research. He’s been able to use advanced optical techniques to really see the very early stages of clots in the brain. This was not possible before he started working on it,” says Nicholas Peppas, Sc.D., Cockrell Family Regents Chair in Engineering No. 6, Family Chair for Department Leadership No. 1 and Professor of Chemical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Andrew K. Dunn, Ph.D., has made seminal contributions in the field of biomedical optics and in neuroscience. His laboratory first introduced laser speckle imaging as a technique for cerebral blood flow imaging in animal models which has become a standard method for imaging blood flow in animal models of neurological disorders. His laboratory was also the first to extend speckle imaging to clinical use during neurosurgery with enormous implications in health care. The ability to visualize and quantify blood flow in real time during neurosurgery has generated tremendous interest in both clinic and industry.
Dr. Dunn’s research contributions have had an impact not only in the field of biomedical optics but also in neuroscience, where many of the imaging techniques his lab has developed are now in widespread use in many research labs across the world. Since his lab first introduced laser speckle imaging as a technique for cerebral blood flow imaging in animal models, it has become a standard method for imaging blood flow in animal models of neurological disorders.
His lab has led the development of blood flow imaging based on laser speckle for the past decade. They were the first to introduce the use of multiple camera exposures in conjunction with a more realistic physical model of dynamic light scattering to improve the quantitative accuracy of speckle imaging. This technique, called multi-exposure speckle imaging (MESI), has now been adopted by numerous other labs, and has enabled high resolution imaging of chronic blood flow for the first time.
His lab was also the first to extend speckle imaging to clinical use during neurosurgery. A major obstacle for imaging blood flow during surgery was the time required to process speckle images, which precluded real-time imaging. The Dunn lab developed a method to overcome this limitation and they now image blood flow in real-time and the imaging speed is limited only by the frame rates of the cameras. The ability to visualize and quantify blood flow in real time during neurosurgery has generated tremendous interest in both clinics and industry.
Dr. Dunn received his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at The University of Texas in Austin, Texas. Dr. Dunn completed his postdoctoral fellow at Beckman Laser Institute, University of California at Irvine. Additionally, he held faculty positions at Tufts University, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School before joining The University of Texas at Austin in 2005. He is currently the Donald J. Douglass Centennial Professor for Biomedical Engineering, faculty member for the Institute of Neuroscience and Interim Department Chair for Biomedical Engineering.
Dr. Dunn has contributed over 90 referred publications in journals of the highest impact of their fields including Nature Communications, Nature Medicine, Optics Express, and Optics Letters, which have been cited over 8500 times (with an h-index of 43). He has been recognized with a number of very prestigious awards and honors, including the American Heart Association Established Investigator Award, the Coulter Foundation Translational Research Award, the National Institutes of Health Career Development Award (in addition to 3 R01 Awards), and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award. He has been further recognized for his superior teaching and service with the University of Texas Regents’ Outstanding Teacher Award and the Department of Biomedical Engineering Outstanding Faculty Award (three times).