IEEE EMBS presents

2021 ExCom Election Nominees

Vice-President-Elect Finance

Bruce Hecht

Bruce Hecht is a designer of systems in learning, technical leadership, and multidisciplinary innovations. He has established and grown new initiatives for IEEE and EMBS connecting researchers with industry and clinical practitioners. Bruce served as the Industry Practitioner EMBS AdCom Representative (2017-2019) and is currently the Secretary-Treasurer for the IEEE Sensors Council. Bruce is an IEEE Senior Member recognized as a Six Sigma Black Belt (ASQ), Achievement in Alliance Management (ASAP), and INCOSE Systems Engineering Professional (ASEP).

Bruce’s early career interest inspired electronics and the body, instrumenting his bicycle to measure output and enable longdistance exploration. He studied Electrical Engineering, Materials and Systems Design at the University of Waterloo, Canada, earning the BASc and MASc in Electrical Engineering. In 1994, he moved to Boston to join Analog Devices where he designed and launched new products in biomedical instrumentation, sensors, and precision medical imaging. His work in breakthrough products was recognized with Analog Devices “Ahead of What’s Possible Award.” The ADAS1000 diagnostic-quality ECG and respiration monitor was awarded Best Electronic Design in Medical Electronics by Electronic Design Magazine (2011).

Bruce is committed to education through active learning. He has organized design challenge events for IEEE and EMBS, and has advised and mentored teams with MIT Hacking Medicine, the Yale-New Haven Hospital / Center for Biomedical Innovation and Technology, and Harvard Undergraduate Robotics Club. He participates with MIT J-WEL World Education Laboratory. This approach to design for health was the topic of his recent workshop “Learning Future Workforce” at the IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference. Bruce is the founder and CEO of VG2PLAY at the Cambridge Innovation Center, envisioning new ways to learn through virtual games, and is a System Design and Management Fellow at MIT.

Position Statement

Health is our most vital resource. Today, the spotlight on biomedical technology and its importance to our lives, our families, and our societies is illuminating the critical benefit of learning, advancing, and applying our collective knowledge to this challenge.

The IEEE and EMBS are at their heart a community of people who are dedicated to learning at scales ranging from the nanoscale of quantum properties of chlorophyll and nano mechanics of DNA to the exoscale of seeding future cities on the Earth’s Moon, Mars, and beyond.

To adapt in this world of accelerating change, we choose to invest in our strengths. While the practices of journal publication, conferences, workshops, and local chapters have established our values of professional dedication, evidence-based research, and community development; we must continue to honor these values and build wider, broader, and deeper the links to succeed with our current and future challenges.

As EMBS VP-Finance, I will support the EMBS Committee Leadership and Executive Office for effective strategy + execution to realize the success of our efforts. I will continue to advance and leverage financial and operational data through IEEE Technical Activities Operations (TAOPS), enhancing real-time dashboards & analytics, and enhancing alliances with key partners inside and external to the IEEE through industry, research institutes, and organizational partners.

Carmen Poon

Carmen C.Y. Poon received the B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science, M.A.Sc. in Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering & Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Toronto. She completed her Ph.D. in Electronic Engineering at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CU), and later joined the Department of Surgery of CU Medicine as a faculty member. Her main research interests include wearable sensing and endoscopic informatics that have potential to change surgical practices. Several pieces of her works in these areas have been rated Highly Cited Papers by ISI Web of Science (2015-2020) and collectively, her works have been cited >3340 times in Scopus (as of Aug. 2020).

Carmen is serving as the Chair of the IEEE Biomedical Engineering Award Committee (2020-2021). She also served as Chair of the 16th International Conference on Wearable and Implantable Body Sensor Networks (2019), Chair of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) Technical Committee on Wearable Biomedical Sensors and Systems (2016-2017), EMBS Administrative Committee member (2014-2016); and Managing Editor for IEEE JOURNAL OF BIOMEDICAL AND HEALTH INFORMATICS (2009-2016). She now serves on the Editorial Boards for several journals published by IEEE, IOP, Elsevier and ACM.

Carmen is a Senior Member of IEEE, a Distinguished Lecturer of EMBS (2019-2020), and the Founding Director of two spin-off companies. She received the IFMBE/IAMBE Early Career Award awarded by International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering / The International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering in 2015, and the IEEE-EMBS Academic Early Career Achievement Award in 2018.

Position Statement

If I were elected as the VP of Finances of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, I would like to contribute to the Society by running a balanced budget via the following strategies:

  • To implement a progressive taxation system to conference organisers, where larger conferences contribute more to the Society and smaller, regional conferences should aim for break-even budgets and host mostly over the virtual platform
  • To include membership fee into conference registration fees, and therefore gradually reducing membership fee to nil; members will be automatically offered a reduced registration fee if he/she join two or more technical activities/conferences in the same year
  • To encourage members to opt for the open access option when publishing with EMBS and gradually reduce printed copies for the Society’s journal
  • To reach out to the practitioners by encouraging technical activities/conferences to be co-hosted with clinical societies such that CME points can be accredited.

Vice-President-Elect Technical Activities

Atam Dhawan

Atam Dhawan is Senior Vice provost for Research, Executive Director of Undergraduate Research and Innovation and Distinguished Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at NJIT.  He held faculty positions in ECE and Radiology departments at University of Houston, University of Cincinnati (UC Medical School), University of Texas (Arlington), Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas), and NJ Medical School.  He is elected Fellow of National Academy of Inventors, Fellow of IEEE, Fellow of American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and Fellow of International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering for contributions in medical imaging and image analysis. He has published 215 research papers, several books and received 10 patents. He commercialized his multi-spectral imaging patents with two successful companies and products on skin-cancer detection currently being used in healthcare.   

He served as conference co-chair of 42nd EMBS annual conference (2020), conference chair of 28th EMBS conference (NY2006), and Workshop, Tutorials and Special Sessions Chair at EMBCs (2012-2019). He served as the founding Editor-In-Chief of IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine (2013-2018), and founding chair of TC on Translational Engineering and Healthcare Innovations (2015-2018). He organized and chaired five NIH-IEEE International Conferences on Point-of-Care Technologies and Healthcare Innovations (2013-2017). He has chaired numerous NIH site visits and review panels including BCHI chartered study section. He currently chairs the NIH Point-of-Care Research Network Expert Advisory Board. He is a recipient of numerous awards including Sigma-Xi Young Investigator Award (1992), EMBS Early Career Achievement Award (1995) and EMBS Distinguished Lecturer award (2012-2014).

Position Statement

IEEE EMBS has emerged as the leading biomedical engineering professional society in the world. EMBS impact in life sciences is evident through transdisciplinary technical activities advancing the scientific knowledge-base towards technology development and translation to healthcare and medicine.  Several Technical Committees (TCs) with strong leaders have been established contributing to EMBS conferences and journal activities. TCs with strong synergy must lead our society towards higher impact in global healthcare while providing an effective gateway to EMBS community, functions and enhanced member services. To strategically focus on TC activities on leading the transdisciplinary scientific community with research, networking and healthcare innovations, I propose a synergistic approach to:

  1. Develop a Technical Activity Executive Board (TAEB) with TC chairs and co-chairs to develop strategic directions to evolve new initiatives, industry-university-healthcare partnerships for enhanced value proposition, engagement and impact.
  2. Help develop plans for organizing Emerging Technology Meetings (ETM) with webinars in rapidly developing niche areas of critical interest and high impact.
  3. Encourage TCs towards developing scientific and clinical needs-based foundation with contributions to journals, annual, STC and grand-challenge conferences, standards and intellectual property translation with the EMBS ecosystem.
  4. Help develop associate membership protocols to bring stakeholders to TCs for interdisciplinary synergies with globally diverse representation and visibility to network and focus on regional and global challenges.
  5. Create online and in-person visibility platforms to recognize and highlight TC member accomplishments and expertise to further enhance networking and leadership among TCs and all EMBS stakeholders for stronger EMBS global community impact.

Ellis Meng

Ellis Meng (M’02, SM’09, F’16) is the Shelly and Ofer Nemirovsky Chair of Convergent Biosciences and Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California where she has been since 2004. She is also Vice Dean of Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She received the B.S. degree in engineering and applied science and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, in 1997, 1998, and 2003, respectively. Her research interests include bioMEMS, implantable biomedical microdevices, neural interfaces, microfluidics, multimodality integrated microsystems, microsensors and actuators, biocompatible polymer microfabrication, and packaging. Her honors include the NSF CAREER award, Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Early Career Award, 2009 TR35 Young Innovator Under 35, ASEE Curtis W. McGraw Research Award, 2018 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Technical Achievement Award, and 2019 IEEE Sensors Council Technical Achievement Award. She is a fellow of NAI, IEEE, ASME, BMES, and AIMBE. She serves as the North American representative on the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society AdCom. She is on the editorial board of the IEEE Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering and Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering, Micro- and Nano-mechanical Systems.  She was co-chair of the 2017 IEEE MEMS conference.  She is also an inventor, co-founder of two companies based on her research, and author of a textbook on bioMEMS.

Position Statement

I have been a member of IEEE and EMBS since I was a graduate student and have participated in the society’s Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference as an attendee, author, speaker, reviewer, associate editor, session chair, and track chair over the years.  In addition to the technical aspects of the society, I have benefited from women in engineering events and networking.  More recently, I have been honored to serve the EMBS in a larger role as the North American representative of the Administrative Committee (AdCom), steering committee member of the IEEE Transactions on Nanobioscience, and member of the EMBS Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  As a co-chair of the 2017 IEEE Microelectromechanical Systems Conference, I had an opportunity to serve my broader technical community in another capacity and interact with different parts of IEEE.  I have been an IEEE volunteer for as long as I have been a faculty member.  At my home institution, I have served in various roles including as a former department chair in biomedical engineering and currently as Vice Dean of Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  Throughout these roles, I have been closely involved with pre-college education stakeholders, undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty through activities and initiatives spanning outreach, education, mentoring, research, innovation, and technology translation. It is through these different experiences that I am motivated to expand my service to EMBS and IEEE to enhance and develop programs and services that will benefit our global technical community.  The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to reimagine the way we learn and work as well as the way in which we interact as a global community to share the results of our efforts.  The pandemic has accelerated the development of new ways to engage and promote accessibility of this content – these are lessons and opportunities that EMBS needs to learn from and leverage in our technical activities portfolio.  At this time, we also need to prioritize efforts to develop diversity, equity, and inclusion approaches that achieve greater representation among our leadership, in our programs, and in the membership of our society.  In fact, we can and should lead among IEEE societies in fostering and achieving inclusion.  I am honored to be a candidate for VP Technical Activities and offer my experiences and time to promote excellence and membership value in EMBS technical activities.


Vice-President-Elect Publications

Thomas Penzel

Dr. Thomas Penzel is an IEEE senior member. He graduated from physics (1986), human biology (1991), and physiology (1995) at the University Marburg, Germany. In 1997 he received a certificate for sleep medicine and a certificate for medical informatics. In 2001 he received the title Professor from the University of Marburg. He was with the University of Marburg since 1982 and installed the first sleep lab in a Department for Internal Medicine in Germany. This lab started many initiatives (sleep center accreditation, sleep physician certification, cardiorespiratory sleep conferences and interdisciplinary symposia) to promote and strengthen sleep medicine in Germany and Europe. In 2006 he moved to Berlin to join the interdisciplinary sleep medicine center at the Charité University hospital and serves as scientific director of the sleep center. In 2001 he received the Bial award for clinical medicine in Portugal, 2008 the Bill Gruen Award for Innovations in Sleep Research by the Sleep Research Society, 2012 the Somnus Award by Sleep apnea patient groups in Germany, and 2014 the distinguished development award by the Chinese sleep research society. He was conference chair of IEEE-EMBC 2019. He authored more than 300 papers in Pubmed with an H-index over 60 and many more conference papers. He is an editorial board member on IEEE T-BME, IEEE TEHM and other journals in biomedical engineering and sleep research due to his strong experience in publishing scientific papers. His research focus is on biosignal analysis, new methods in sleep diagnosis and therapy.

Position Statement

As chair of the German IEEE chapter Engineering in Medicine and Biology, previous chair of the Technical Committee on Cardiopulmonary system, EMB Adcom technical member, and conference chair of EMBC 2019 in Berlin, I am very familiar with the society’s structures and I’m well connected within the network of the society now for many years.

As VP publications I would advocate for an increase in EMBS journals visibility to the medical community, especially in the areas of cardiovascular, pulmonary and sleep medicine and to promote a further acknowledgement of EMBS activities in these areas.

Being the scientific head of the Interdisciplinary Medical Sleep Laboratory at the Charité Berlin, I work now for many years at a direct interface between engineering and medicine and I would love to dedicate my experience in the Administrative Committee in order to promote EMBS journals to increase the submission of high quality science and to increase citations as well. Thereby the impact factor of journals might increase which will make the journals even more attractive.

My understanding of IEEE EMBS is that together we run international conferences of top quality and that we publish journals with the best of science in biomedical engineering. We are already at top ranks and want to reach more visibility, especially in these times which depend on advances in biomedical engineering and science.

Nitish Thakor

Nitish V. Thakor (Life Fellow, IEEE) is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering and at Johns Hopkins University since 1983. And he served as the Founding Director of Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology (SINAPSE). Prof. Thakor’s technical expertise is in the fields of Medical Instrumentation and Neuroengineering, where he has carried out research on many technologies for brain monitoring, implantable neurotechnologies, neuroprosthesis and brain-machine interface. He has published over 400 refereed journal papers (GH Index 81), obtained 16 US and international patents and co-founded 3 active companies. He was previously the Editor in Chief of IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, and currently the EIC of Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing (Springer/Nature). He is the Editor of an upcoming authoritative reference Handbook of Neuroengineering. Prof. Thakor is a recipient of the Technical Achievement Award (Neuroengineering) as well as the Academic Career Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. He received a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health and a Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, Life Fellow of IEEE, Biomedical Engineering Society, and International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering. He is a recipient of a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India, and a Centennial Medal from the University of Wisconsin School of Engineering.

Position Statement

I am honored and excited to be nominated to serve on IEEE EMBS Ex-Com for Publication activities. This is, by far, my greatest pleasure and pride to help promote the academic, scientific publication and scholarship activities of the Society. It is very well known and understood that the society’s reputation and success rests on its leadership in the field through its publications and conferences. Indeed, these are equally critical for society’s financial health as well. Therefore, a very thoughtful and committed leadership and effort will be needed by Ex-Com to steer the scientific and technical excellence as well as the financial health of the society.

I am enthusiastic about providing that leadership and, indeed, I believe I am also highly qualified to do so. My experience as a life-long IEEE EMBS member (now a Life Member, and an Ad Com member) shows my dedication, my involvement as theme/track/conference leader to our conferences shows my year-in, year-out commitment, and my decades of experience as an Associate Editor, and then for 6 years as an Editor-in-Chief, shows my experience.

With this decades of demonstrated commitment and experience, I wish to be both effective and influential. My primary role in this leadership role will be to lead all our publication activities, journals, magazines, and conference proceedings, develop the academic leaders (editors, chairs) for these, and fully support their initiatives and execution on behalf of respective journals, magazines, and conferences. I also see a very important role to provide teamwork and full commitment to work with the leadership and staff of EMBS. We will need to together manage the scholarship, outreach and growth, and finances.

Besides the job to be done as an ExCom member, besides the teamwork and support outlined above, I also wish to provide leadership. Succinctly, this will be in two areas: 1) digital and distance, and 2) excellence.

There is a relentless change to digital publishing and media, and foreseeable future meeting and conferences will be digital. We must adapt and lead. There is also a very high level of expectation and competition to enhance the impact factor, dissemination, and downloads, for example of our publication. What is missing is Science/Nature caliber engineering publication, at least a Biomedical Engineering publication. Pulse can be improved for the digital age. Our online initiatives are off to a great start: they should be academically strong and financially very viable, dare I say profitable. And, conferences should see publications as a vehicle to enhance participation, both for society’s growth and for financial health. e.g. by truly accelerating the recruitment of new/young members and partnering with other societies and communities (e.g. clinicians and industry members). (Note: I have relinquished my international activities, and next year I propose to relinquish my other editorial commitments to immerse myself fully in the IEEE EMBS and EMBC activities to volunteer, team up, and lead initiatives).


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