Harrison H Barrett, PhD

Regents Professor of Radiology
Regents Professor of Optical Sciences
Email Address: 
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-6815

UACC Information

UACC Organizational Unit: 
Professional Bio: 

Though trained as a physicist, Dr. Barrett now regards his scientific specialty as Image Science, an emerging field which strives to provide unified theories, design principles and evaluation methods for all forms of imaging.  In recent projects his group has applied the methodologies of image science to problems in astronomy and optical metrology, but his main focus has always been medical imaging, especially nuclear medicine.            

Dr. Barrett had forty years of continuous NIH funding, mainly through the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).  He is the founding director of the Center for Gamma-Ray Imaging (CGRI), now in its 17th year.  CGRI uniquely combines rigorous theory, state-of-the-art computational tools, advanced detectors and electronics, innovative imaging systems, novel radiotracers and cutting-edge clinical and preclinical applications.  All of this is done within the context of gamma-ray imaging, but it is important to other forms of medical imaging and image science in general.  He is also PI on a large NIH R01 grant entitled SPECT Imaging and Parallel Computing, now in year 24, which provides the massive computing resources needed to reach the goals of CGRI.         

With this grant funding and other resources, he has mentored many undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.  Sixty-two students have received PhD degrees under his supervision, and about half of them are now in academia or national laboratories.  Five former students from CGRI are employed by the Food and Drug Administration.               

A major component of CGRI is an extensive collaborative research program, which promotes clinical translation of the technologies developed in all of the projects.  There are ongoing collaborations with six major cancer centers: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Chicago Cancer Center. Moffitt Cancer Center, Translational Genomics Institute and National University of Ireland Galway, as well as other external collaborations in neurology and cardiology.  New collaborations with University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC) clinicians are also being developed.

Throughout his career, Dr. Barrett has directly supervised 54 PhD dissertations, 20 masters theses, and approximately 10 postdoctoral fellows.

Research Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Imaging
Member Status: 
Research Member
Summary of Research Activity: 

Dr. Barrett’s specialty is the emerging field of Image Science, which strives to provide unified theories, design principles and evaluation methods for all forms of imaging.  In recent projects he has applied the methodologies of image science to problems in astronomy and optical metrology, but his main focus has always been medical imaging, especially in nuclear medicine.  He has had over forty years of continuous NIH funding, mainly through the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering NIBIB).  He is the founding director of the Center for Gamma-Ray Imaging (CGRI), now in its 16th year.  CGRI uniquely combines rigorous theory, state-of-the-art computational tools, advanced detectors and electronics, innovative imaging systems, novel radiotracers and cutting-edge clinical and preclinical applications.  All of this is done within the context of gamma-ray imaging, but it is important to other forms of medical imaging and image science in general.  Dr. Barrett also holds a large NIH R01 grant entitled SPECT Imaging and Parallel Computing, now in year 23, which provides the massive computing resources needed to reach the goals of CGRI.

As leader of CGRI Project II, Dr. Barrett conducts research in several cancer-related areas.  He and his team are developing new methods for estimation of tumor volume, tracer uptake and other parameters.   In another project they are developing methods to assess the therapeutic efficacy of imaging systems when the images are to be used in the planning and monitoring of external-beam radiation therapy or radionuclide therapy.  They are also investigating new techniques and imaging instruments for analyzing drug delivery in chemotherapy;  included in this effort are methods to estimate extravasation rates, diffusion coefficients, binding potentials and other mechanistic (non-compartmental) pharmacokinetic parameters.  Finally, his group is developing new instruments for 2D and 3D imaging of alpha and beta particles emitted by the radionuclides used in targeted radiotherapy.

A major component of CGRI is an extensive collaborative research program, which promotes preclinical and clinical translation of the technologies developed in all of the projects.  There are ongoing collaborations with six major cancer centers: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Chicago Cancer Center. Moffitt Cancer Center, Translational Genomics Institute and National University of Ireland Galway.  New collaborations with UACC researchers are also being developed.

Selected Publications: 

Professional Information

Positions and Honors: 
SPIE, Gold Medal of the Society, 2011
 
IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology, 2011
 
SPIE/Optical Society of America Joseph W. Goodman Book Writing Award (with Kyle Myers), 2006
 
Optical Society of America, C.E.K. Mees Medal, 2005
 
IEEE Medical Imaging Scientist Award, 2000
 
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Humboldt Prize, 1980
 
Industrial Research Magazine, IR-100 Award, 1973
 
Society of Nuclear Medicine Scientific Exhibit Awards, First Prize 1991, Silver Medal 1972, Bronze Medals 1973, 1975, 1983, 1984, 1985, Honorable Mention 1983
Other Experience and Professional Memberships/Affiliations: 

American Institute of Medical and Biological Imaging, Fellow
American Physical Society, Fellow
OSA, Fellow
Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Senior Fellow

Academic Information

Master's Degree: 
MS, MIT, 1962
Undergraduate School: 
BS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 1960