Sights and sounds
An SGRIP course at IIT Kharagpur could act as a stepping stone for students into the highly challenging medical imaging industry
Medical imaging is a multi-billion-dollar industry today and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.7% by 2025. Both India and China are expected to majorly contribute to this growth. A rapid advancement in medical and diagnostic imaging devices has enhanced the diagnosis and treatment of several diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
In addition, medical imaging and image guided therapy are important sources of employment, with a large number of electrical, computer, and biomedical engineers being employed in both the public and private sectors. However, today there are only a handful of academic programs (mostly in medical imaging or medical physics) that focus on training students to enter these fields.
An ongoing short term course at IIT Kharagpur addresses this problem by not only trying to keep students abreast of the latest trends in the imaging sciences but also in helping generate an interest in this particular field. Dr. Soumyajit Mandal, T. and A. Schroeder Assistant Professor from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science of Case Western Reserve University , is currently taking the week-long course on “Instrumentation and algorithms for biomedical imaging: MRI and Ultrasound”. The course is aligned towards instrumentation and signal processing algorithms (or strategies) while focusing on physics and engineering of the applicable methods.
Dr Mandal said at the inaugural lecture, “The typical course on imaging methods deals either with the physics of the problem (how images are created or what is the physical phenomenon involved) or the clinical aspects. I will talk about the engineering of the system, say what sort of circuits are used, and such like.”
Dr Mandal is a recognized expert in the area of bioinspired electronic circuits and medical imaging. He is an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, and won the President’s Gold Medal when he graduated in 2002. His doctoral thesis at MIT won him the MTL Doctoral Dissertation Award in 2009. Last year, he was awarded the Young Achiever Alumni Award by his alma mater.
The course is being hosted under the Institute’s SGR International faculty/expert outreach program that funds distinguished researchers or faculty members of highly-ranked international universities to teach and do collaborative research in IIT Kharagpur. Since its launch in 2015, SGRIP (Shri Gopal Rajgarhia International Programme) has facilitated the visits of more than 40 international faculty and led to about 25 collaborative short courses and workshops at IIT Kharagpur.
Prof. Anandaroop Bhattacharya, Associate Dean, International Relations, said, ““The SGRIP program, set up with the generous funding received from our Distinguished Alumnus, Mr. Shri Gopal Rajgarhia, aims at bringing eminent researchers across the world to IIT Kharagpur to share their research work with our students and faculty. The initiative goes a long way in stimulating the learning environment and promoting collaborative research. This particular course work exposes our students to cutting-edge research in one of the emerging fields of science.”
Prof. Sudip Nag of the Department of Electronics and Electrical Communications Engineering, who facilitated the course being taken by Dr Mandal, pointed out, “This course is an awesome platform to learn about basic medical imaging physics, smart circuit design approaches, and futuristic signal processing strategies. This course has been expanded through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound imaging as the prime thematic areas, while simultaneously dealing with the latest and upcoming trends in portable healthcare image acquisition, reconstruction methods, and machine learning integration in healthcare. The course will certainly and immensely benefit students, researchers, and faculties at IIT Kharagpur who are directly or partially engaged in related areas of research.”
The course is being attended mostly by senior students doing their MTech or PhD. Baisakhee Saha, a woman scientist associated with the Institute’s School of Medical Science and Technology, who is attending the course said, “I am interested in micro-CT imagery and keen to know about the advance of cellular imagery. I am looking forward to the course for new directions.”
Graphics : Suman Sutradhar