El-Shenawee Speaks at Symposium on Biomedical Applications of Terahertz Radiation

Magda El-Shenawee speaks at the Biomedical Applications of Terahertz Applications Symposium at the International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves.
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Magda El-Shenawee speaks at the Biomedical Applications of Terahertz Applications Symposium at the International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves.

Madga El-Shenawee, a professor of electrical engineering, was invited to speak as one of the four featured experts at this year's International Conference on Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves.

The conference, hosted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Initiatives and the Centro de Investigaciones en Optica A.C., featured a new symposium on the biomedical applications of terahertz (THz) technology. El-Shenawee was featured alongside researchers from the California Institute of Technology, the University of California at Los Angeles, Concordia University and Harvard Medical School.

"When I saw the list of speakers, I felt good because it means that we're putting the University of Arkansas on the map at the same level as all those other universities," said El-Shenawee. "We are among universities that are on the top of the list for biomedical terahertz research."

El-Shenawee presented on her ongoing research, which utilizes terahertz imaging technology to detect positive cancer margins to effectively remove all breast tumor tissue. Her research has significant potential to improve current lumpectomy practices, specifically by decreasing the rate of second surgeries, cancer reoccurrence, and metastasis.

El-Shenawee has been interested in terahertz imaging technology as a tool, and breast cancer as a subject, for years. She put the two together seven years ago after hosting the 2010 Advances in Breast Cancer Research Workshop at UA campus funded by the National Science Foundation. During the workshop, Susan Klimberg, a breast cancer surgeon at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, expressed difficulty seeing cancer on excised breast tissue after a lumpectomy, and in that instance, "I connected the dots," El-Shenawee remembers. "It was at that moment when I said I would use terahertz technology to look at tumor margins."

In 2012, El-Shenawee's lab acquired a state-of-the-art terahertz imaging system funded by NSF/MRI grant, furthering her ability to research an alternative method of detecting and treating breast cancer. Today, her research has garnered attention worldwide and brought in nearly $1.6 million in research funds from the Army Research Laboratory, the University of Arkansas for Medical Science, the National Science Foundation's Major Research Instrumentation Program, and most recently, the National Institutes of Health.

The symposium on the biomedical applications of terahertz was widely successful and drew in over 400 attendees. "Everyone understands that there is a future in terahertz," said El-Shenawee. "This technology has applications in health care and it can impact humanity."


Sierra Mendoza, multimedia communications specialist
Department of Electrical Engineering
479-575-4037, smendoza@uark.edu


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