We are honored to host the 17th International Meeting on Fully Three-Dimensional Image Reconstruction in Radiology and Nuclear Medicine (Fully3D) from July 16, 2023, to July 21, 2023. It will be held on the campus of Stony Brook University, a flagship of the State University of New York system, which is located on the north shore of Long Island with easy access to numerous beaches as well as to New York City and the Hamptons. Fully3D is a biennial workshop-style meeting dedicated to the latest advances in algorithms and computational methods for the reconstruction of biomedical images in multiple dimensions, including but not limited to the modalities of x-ray CT, PET and SPECT. We hope to continue the tradition of hosting a congenial and focused meeting that attracts leaders in the field of image reconstruction as well as students, and encourages open and constructive dialogue. It is a testament to the influence of this meeting that several concepts introduced at the meeting have found broad utility in the research and clinical communities. We look forward to your abstract submissions, attendance and lively discussions!
Stony Brook University Hosts 17th International Fully3D Imaging Conference
Worldwide leaders in the field of medical imaging algorithms gathered for a five-day conference in Stony Brook University’s Charles B. Wang Center to discuss the latest advancements, highlighting Stony Brook and the Renaissance School of Medicine as a major player in medical imaging science.
Nearly 200 scientists, students and industry researchers from around the world met for the 17th International Meeting on Fully 3D Image Reconstruction in Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, known as Fully3D 2023, a biennial research conference sponsored for the first time by Stony Brook University (SBU), Stony Brook Medicine and in particular the Department of Radiology. They gathered in the Charles B. Wang Center Sunday, July 16 through Friday, July 21 to present the latest research on the mathematics and theory behind X-ray CT (computed tomography), PET (positron emission tomography) and SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) imaging.
The focus of the conference is Image reconstruction – the process of taking the raw data from medical imaging systems and generating optimized 3D images that radiologists use to diagnose disease. It brought together the brightest minds in the field, including keynote speakers Dr. Lihong Wang, an inductee in the National Academy of Inventors and the National Academy of Engineering; Dr. Kris Krishna Kandarpa, Director of Research Sciences and Strategic Directions at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging & Bioengineering; Dr. Bahaa Ghammraoui, a medical imaging scientist at the US Food and Drug Administration; and Dr. Yvonne Lui, Vice Chair for Research at New York University and President of the American Society of Neuroradiology. Their topics ranged from photoacoustic, light-speed and quantum imaging, to recent advancements in medical imaging technologies, including quantitative molecular imaging using PET and SPECT, photon energy-resolving X-ray CT, and artificial intelligence (AI) machine-learning methods. In addition, Stony Brook’s own were represented as doctoral candidate Tianyun Zhao gave an oral presentation and five others presented posters at the conference, including Xiaoyu Duan, who won a poster award that was selected by a committee of esteemed scientists independent of Stony Brook.
A Major Player
The first Fully3D imaging meeting was held in 1991 at Corsendonk, Belgium, where 65 world experts and trainees in the field met on a college campus to exchange their ideas. Fully 3D 2023 had 180 attendees with over half from Europe and Asia. For many it was the first in-person conference they attended since the pandemic. The choice for SBU to serve as host was a natural fit since it has been at the forefront of medical imaging research for decades, serving as the birthplace of MRI technology and diagnostic CT colonography (CTC), and making important contributions in the development of X-ray, CT, PET, SPECT, MRI, optical and multimodality imaging. The new and growing PET Research Center (including the BAHL Molecular Imaging Laboratory and Cyclotron) has imaging capabilities that rival the best in the world and was the site of a tour enjoyed by many attendees at the event.
Fully3D 2023 was co-chaired by three professors doing research in imaging science who are affiliated with the Department of Radiology: Dr. Jerome Z. Liang, Professor of Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, Electric and Computer Engineering, and Computer Science, who has attended nearly all of the previous conferences; Dr. Paul Vaska, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology; and Dr. Chuan Huang, former Associate Professor of Radiology who is now at Emory University, but returned to work on this conference. All three co-chairs have national and international reputations in the field of medical imaging, particularly in reconstruction of low-dose CT (including CTC), hardware and methods for high-resolution and quantitative PET and SPECT, and advanced AI algorithms for PET and MRI clinical utility.
Liang said that the biennial conference gives attendees a chance to come together to stay on top of the medical imaging field. “Medical imaging hardware has been evolving over the years resulting in better spatial resolution and improved measurements,” Liang said. “This conference was focused on what to do with the raw data from the scanners—image reconstruction, its mathematical process and the different modalities—and turning it into something that radiologists and other medical experts can look at. There are new techniques with AI that are being used, which were highlighted in the sessions, as well as techniques being used to improve the images. This is a very active field of research that’s not just producing new algorithms, but also evaluating them.”
Vaska said the conference enhanced Stony Brook’s status as a major player in medical imaging science. “Attendance exceeded expectations and the audience during the talks was deeply engaged, asking pertinent questions throughout all discussion periods,” he said. “Poster sessions were also well attended and resulted in many lively discussions. There was a strong consensus that the keynote talks covered highly relevant topics, and the speakers themselves said they were impressed with the caliber of the conference. We were also complimented on the venue, campus and staff who were most professional and supportive.”
Keynote speaker Lui said in addition to finding the Stony Brook location an easy trip from the city, she appreciated the interactions. “I enjoyed speaking with the attendees and organizers. I hope my discussion on our work using deep learning to advance MR image reconstruction was useful. I’m a neuroimager by training and a practicing radiologist,” she said. “It was great to interact with imaging scientists and hear the latest advances in reconstruction and consider how these could be useful in practice.”
Virtually all the major breakthroughs in image reconstruction have been presented throughout the history of this conference, according to Dr. Grant T. Gullberg from the University of California, San Francisco, who was also a 2023 presenter and has attended nearly every meeting. “This then translates to the technological advances beyond medicine, including the airlines where CT scans can be used to detect a crack in an engine blade,” he said.
Dr. Rolf Clackdoyle from the Université Grenoble Alpes in France agreed, adding that while the scientists’ main mandate is to publish and produce new research generally in radiology and nuclear medicine, “the receiving end of that is also industry that wants to develop new tools. The homeland security field learns a lot from the medical imaging field and copies the technology and adapts it. The main place our research leads to is medicine, but the same technology is used to scan luggage in the airport.”
The Stony Brook poster award winner, Duan, a fifth year PhD student in biomedical engineering and in medical physics, said her work—which is focused on breast imaging when there’s a suspicious lesion—is an example of the practical applications of what the conference is all about. “Our clinical motivation is to avoid having a woman called back after an annual screening and make it clear for the radiologist to distinguish if a lesion is benign or malignant, reducing the patient’s anxiety and the cost.”
Duan added that beyond the industry applications was the opportunity for her to meet colleagues from all over the world and to hear other presentations.
Tianyun Zhao, a third year PhD biomedical engineering student working in Stony Brook’s Department of Radiology, said that’s what made the conference meaningful for him. Not only did he volunteer, but he also gave a presentation on using anatomical MRI to improve PET imaging performance without the need for large amounts of training data, which led to useful feedback from researchers whose work he’s studied.
“This conference allowed me to see a lot of people whose papers I’ve read before but never had the chance to meet,” Zhao said. “I was able to communicate and meet with the person who did the research rather than just interpret from their paper. Networking and exploring this field means I can have better knowledge of the whole imaging field.”
Ten-time attendee Dr. Margaret Daube-Witherspoon of the University of Pennsylvania agreed a major benefit of this conference is the ability to network during meals as well as sessions. “This week I've gotten a few ideas on how to do motion correction in our work and some specific ideas that help us reconstruct PET data. It’s also just getting up to speed on CT and especially the deep-learning methods,” she said. “The importance of the conference overall is to maintain a connection with experts in my field and expand my knowledge base.”
Dr. Yuxiang Xing of Tsinghua University in China who earned her PhD in electrical engineering from Stony Brook in 2003, has been attending the conference for more than 15 years and stressed the significance of this supportive scientific community. “With all the cutting-edge science and technology, I learned a lot. This conference is always about the most advanced technology problems. I think Stony Brook should host more of these kinds of conferences. We need this kind of support we’ve gotten from the radiology department. We have a lot of young investigators, so this is a very good community to help them with their career and interest in this area and their contributions to this work.”
For Dr. Emil Sidky from the University of Chicago, who has been attending since 2003, this conference has always been about the details. “For me, this is my favorite conference, because I’m an image reconstruction nerd. This is the one where we can talk about the details of the algorithms and the image formation and the mathematics and all these details that for everybody else their eyes glaze over,” he said. “There’s a lot of very technical questions also. In a normal radiology conference it wouldn’t be like that because you mostly have radiologists or clinical businesses who don’t really care that much about what’s happening inside the scanner. But for us, it’s a formation of the image so we’re really focused on a lot of the theoretical details of how that image is formed.”
According to Dr. Chuan Huang, the conference allowed for a relaxed, free exchange of ideas. “The feedback we’ve gotten had been enthusiastically positive. And many of the attendees developed long-term friendship through the professional network opportunity provided by this conference, and some of them have seen each other for the past 20 to 30 years, which is also part of the attraction of this event.”