Harrison H. Barrett


Harrison H. Barrett
Associated organizations
University of Arizona Center
Fields of study
IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology


Considered one of the top imaging scientists in the world for his knowledge of the underlying physics and mathematics of biomedical imaging, Harrison H. Barrett has broadly impacted the field with contributions to instrumentation, reconstruction algorithms, and image quality assessment. He has provided a rigorous theoretical basis and clearly defined experimental and computational paradigms for the assessment and optimization of image quality. His work led to improved understanding of single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging, which uses gamma rays to provide three-dimensional imaging of the brain, tumors, and bone. Dr. Barrett’s research on image quality assessment has revolutionized how medical imaging systems are evaluated. He implemented numerical observers that allow a computer to analyze images instead of using human observers, overcoming what can be a lengthy process. Quantitative image quality assessment is now a requirement for practically all biomedical imaging. As early as 1972, he published some of the first results on using coded apertures for high-resolution tomographic imaging in nuclear medicine. During the 1980s and 1990s, he developed methods to improve the resolution-sensitivity trade-off in SPECT systems. He developed a stationary hemispherical SPECT system for human brain imaging and the FastSPECT and FastSPECT II systems for fast dynamic imaging in small animals. Recent developments include semiconductor arrays for high-resolution gamma-ray imaging. He co-founded the University of Arizona Center for Gamma-Ray Imaging in 1998.

Dr. Barrett is an IEEE Fellow and 2011 recipient of the IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology. He is currently Regents Professor and director of the Center for Gamma-Ray Imaging at the University of Arizona, Tucson.