PITTSBURGH (Feb. 3, 2021) … Linggang Luo, a bioengineering graduate student at the
University of Pittsburgh, was named the 2020 Wesley C. Pickard Fellow by the
Department of Bioengineering. Recipients of this award are selected by the
department chair and chosen based on academic merit.
Luo received his bachelor’s degree in bioengineering at Harbin
Institute of Technology in Weihai, China and his master’s degree in biomedical
engineering at Columbia University before joining the graduate program at
Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering.
chose Pitt’s bioengineering program because it is among the top programs in the
United States,” Luo said. “For those who are simultaneously interested in
neuroscience and imaging, there are many opportunities, including collaborations
between Pitt, UPMC, Carnegie Mellon University and the Center for the Neural
Basis of Cognition.”
Luo works in the lab of Fang-Cheng
(Frank) Yeh, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurological surgery at Pitt’s School
of Medicine, where he studies tractography, a 3D modeling technique that uses
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data to visualize nerve tracts. Specifically,
he looks at how this tool can be used to map structural properties of the
brain, such as white matter tracts.
MRI has arisen as the only non-invasive way to map white matter bundles and
assess their structural integrity in the human brain,”
Luo explained. “There is a growing interest in large-scale analysis of
diffusion MRI to explore its promising applications in biomedical research as
an imaging biomarker of neuropathology.
fast imaging sequences, diffusion MRI -- particularly its high angular resolution
variants -- can be acquired on standard clinical scanners,” he added. “This
advancement has gained considerable interest because of its roles in mapping
human connectome and potential for accessing neurological disorders.”
Improved imaging will allow researchers to gain a better
understanding of neural function and may eventually help predict and improve treatment
of neurological disorders.
“Diffusion MRI is a challenging field with keen competition from
top engineers around the world, who are striving to lift technical obstacles
for clinical needs,” Dr. Yeh said. “I am thrilled that Linggang has decided to
take on this challenge and work side-by-side with me. It is a tough choice, but
I believe there is promising potential for him to change health care practice
in the future.”
After he completes his PhD, Luo plans to pursue a career in
academia and lead his own neuroscience research laboratory.
“I appreciate this fellowship and the opportunity it has allowed
me to advance research in this field,” Luo said. “I hope to make a positive
impact that can one day improve the treatment of neurological disorders.”
About Wesley C. Pickard:
Mr. Pickard is an alumnus of the Swanson School of Engineering and
earned his bachelor's degree in mining engineering at Pitt in 1961. He
retired from Synergy Inc, a DC based consulting firm as the CFO. Over a period
of 33 years, Pickard helped the company grow from five staff members to more
than 200 with revenues of approximately $25 million when it was sold in 2005.
His support of Pitt includes the establishment of this fellowship, and he was
recently inducted into the Cathedral of Learning Society at Pitt—a giving
society that honors some of our most generous alumni.
In 2010 Mr. Pickard was named the University of Pittsburgh
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Distinguished Alumnus. He
also received the Pitt Volunteer of Excellence Award in 2012 and was named a
“Significant Sig” in 2017 by Sigma Chi Fraternity. In 2018 he was
selected as the overall honoree representing the entire Swanson School at the
54th annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet.
Contact: Leah Russell