Liang, Hernando receive awards at ISMRM meeting

ECE News

Susan Kantor, ECE ILLINOIS

Story Highlights

  • ECE Professor Zhi-Peng Liang received an ISMRM Fellow Award for his outstanding contributions to constrained image reconstruction and processing.
  • Graduate student Diego Hernando was one of the select few who received a ISMRM Junior Fellow Award.
  • Hernando, who is in Liang's research group, researched tissue characterization with MRI.

Zhi-Pei  Liang
Zhi-Pei Liang

ECE Professor Zhi-Pei Liang and graduate student Diego Hernando represented Illinois well at the annual meeting of the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) in Stockholm, Sweden, in May.

Liang received an ISMRM Fellow Award for his outstanding contributions to constrained image reconstruction and processing. Hernando, who is in Liang’s research group, was one of the few who received a Junior Fellow Award—the first time these awards were given—for his outstanding accomplishments as a young investigator.

For Liang, who is already a Fellow of IEEE and AIMBE (American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering),  the recognition was sentimental because the society was founded by the late Nobel Laureate and ECE affiliate faculty member Paul Lauterbur.

“I worked with Paul for 17 years,” Liang said. “Being recognized by the society means a lot to me personally. I am also particularly pleased with Diego receiving the Junior Fellow Award as he is truly an outstanding student, and this award will set a firm stage for him to launch his career in academia.”

Diego Hernando
Diego Hernando

Hernando will complete his PhD work this summer and begin as a researcher at UW-Madison in August.

“It was great,” Hernando said. “It was a great way to finish up the PhD after all this time working here at Illinois with Professor Liang and my co-workers in the lab.” 

Hernando’s research at Illinois has focused on tissue characterization with MRI. As part of his research, he has developed a novel technique to solve a long-standing problem in the field, which enables separation of MRI signals from water protons and fat protons.

“This is really important for a lot of clinical applications,” Hernando said. “If the images of water and fat are not separate, they are difficult to distinguish.”

Liang added that MRI has traditionally been a qualitative imaging technique.  “Diego’s invention makes quantitative characterization of tissue possible using MRI,” Liang said.

As Hernando finishes his PhD work and moves on to Madison, he feels his Illinois education has prepared him well to move forward in his career. “The academic  and research environment  has provided excellent training for me, and I think that is what really has allowed me to do well in the field so far,” he said.

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