by Jane Stoyle Welch
Published July 15, 2020
Jun Xia, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, has been awarded a 2020 Qualcomm Faculty Award to support his research on the application of photoacoustic imaging in wearable technologies.
“The highly selective Qualcomm Faculty Award helps faculty advance their work in areas of technology that are of interest to Qualcomm,” says John Schneider, Qualcomm vice president of technology and University at Buffalo electrical engineering alumnus (PhD ’90, MS ’87, BS ’80).
Schneider, who conducts much of Qualcomm’s research in medical imaging and sensor technology out of its Buffalo office, added, “Qualcomm benefits in numerous ways from these awards, not only in accelerating focused research, but in cultivating graduate students for positions within Qualcomm as well as in helping out the local community in which the university is located.”
Xia’s group uses a combination of optical (light) and acoustic (sound) techniques to provide clinicians and researchers with the ability to see inside the body. One area of focus is photoacoustic imaging, which is a hybrid technique based on the light in, sound out principle. The technology offers high-resolution imaging of the physiological process, which can be used for disease diagnosis or biometric-based personnel identification.
“Recent advances in light and ultrasound devices have allowed a significant reduction in system size, and the funding from Qualcomm will help us refine this technique to be suitable for wearable applications,” says Xia.
“Jun’s work in photoacoustic imaging is very promising. There are real benefits to shrinking the size of his system as a move toward a wearable device which will have an even greater impact in healthcare and beyond. It is outstanding that Qualcomm has recognized his work through this award,” said Albert Titus, professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Xia’s research focuses on the development of novel optical and ultrasonic imaging techniques to meet needs in biometric, cancer, and neurological research. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Center for Identification Technology Research, and other sponsors.
Prior to joining the University at Buffalo in 2014, Xia was a post-doctoral fellow in biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto in 2010.
A multinational semiconductor and telecommunications company that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services, Qualcomm supports higher education research through several programs, including research grants and lab funding as well as the faculty award. The award will support Xia’s research through a $75,000 charitable donation to the University at Buffalo.
This is the second consecutive year a faculty member in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences received a Qualcomm Faculty award. Electrical engineering professor Kwang Oh was recognized for his work in microfluidic technology.