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Manbir Singh, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology, 67

A pioneer in biomedical imaging technology, Singh joined USC in 1977.

January 23, 2012 —

Manbir Singh, a professor of biomedical engineering and radiology at USC, passed away in December while visiting family in India. A pioneer in biomedical imaging technology, Singh was 67.

A memorial for Dr. Manbir Singh was held Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 at the Davidson Conference Center.

“He was a giving and passionate colleague and teacher,” said Dr. Norberto Grzywacz, Dwight C. and Hildagarde E. Baum Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. “You could see a reflection of his passion for research and teaching in the high-level of his graduate students' work. And his biomedical imaging classes were among the most loved in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.”

Born Oct. 7, 1945 in Amritsar, India, Singh received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1971 before conducting post-doctoral studies in Biomedical Physics at UCLA’s Laboratory of Nuclear Medicine and Radiation Biology. Subsequently, he spent one year at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., as a Visiting Scholar of the American Heart Association where he did the first studies in single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). He joined the Department of Radiology at USC in 1977 and received a joint appointment in Biomedical Engineering in 1988.

Singh pioneered the use of SPECT to detect and quantify acute myocardial infarctions in three dimensions and was one of the first investigators to demonstrate the synergism of X-ray CT and nuclear medicine SPECT imaging in detecting and visualizing both the anatomy and function of the heart.

He was the nationally elected AdCom representative for Nuclear Medical Sciences in the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Society (NPSS) from 1986 to 1989, co-founder of the IEEE Medical Imaging Conference in 1990, the technical chair for Nuclear Medical Sciences within IEEE NPSS from 1991 to 1993 and Scientific Program Chair of the 1992 and 1993 IEEE Medical Imaging Conferences.

During the mid-1980s, he also proposed the concept of using magnetoencephalography (MEG) to image the electrical activity of distribute neuronal sources inside the human brain and operated a SQUID MEG lab at USC.

His latest interests were in functional MRI and DTI tractography with applications of DTI to Alzheimer’s disease and traumatic brain injuries. He was founder and director of the Neuroimaging core at USC, which develops new methodology in fMRI and DTI. Dr. Singh was also the founding director of the graduate program in Biomedical Imaging within the department of Biomedical Engineering.

He is survived by wife Heidi and their son, Kabir, 24, of Los Angeles, Calif. A memorial for Singh was held on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 in The Vineyard Room of the Davidson Conference Center.