Richard A. Robb, Ph.D. retired from Mayo Clinic December 31, 2015. His career of over 42 years at that institution followed the receipt of the B.A. degree in Mathematics in 1965, the M.S. degree in Computer Science in 1968, and the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Biophysics in 1971, all from the University of Utah. He is Emeritus Professor in Medical Research and Professor of Biophysics and Professor of Computer Science in the Mayo Medical School and Mayo Graduate School. He was appointed and served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Mayo Graduate School (1990-1988). He was the first Director of the Biomedical Engineering Program (1998) in the Mayo Graduate School and Cofounder and Director of the Biomedical Imaging Resource at Mayo Foundation/Clinic (1988-2015).
Dr. Robb has been a member of the American Physiological Society, the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the IEEE Computer Society, the IEEE Signal Processing Society, the Association for Computing Machinery, the National Computer Graphics Association and the International Society for Computer Assisted Surgery and the MICCAI Society (of which he was an initial founder). He is editor, associate editor and on the editorial board of several prestigious international journals. He has been honored with many prestigious awards, including The Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Utah (2011), the IEEE Life Member Recognition (2014), the Dean’s Recognition Award for Outstanding Achievement at Mayo Graduate School (1992), the MICCAI Society Fellow Award (2009), and the prestigious Mayo Clinic Named Professorship (2000) – the Mayo Clinic’s highest recognition for contributions to medical research and education. This endowed professorship, called the Scheller Professorship in Medical Research, cites Dr. Robb as a “respected leader, innovative scientist, and caring educator”.
Dr. Robb has been involved in the development and application of computer systems for processing, analysis, and display of biomedical image data for over forty years. He has been principal investigator on many NIH research grants and has over 450 publications in the field of biomedical image processing, including 5 books and 30 book chapters. He has patented several inventions related to display, manipulation and analysis of computer-generated medical images. He has directed development of comprehensive software packages and systems which provide advanced capabilities for differential medical diagnosis and non-invasive targeted therapy using multidimensional biomedical image visualization and analysis which have been successfully translated to clinical practice. These software packages and technologies are used in over 1000 institutions around the world and have been licensed to several companies for distribution.
Dr. Robb's continuing research interests are in biomedical image visualization, image processing, image modeling, virtual reality, advanced software systems, and high performance computing systems and networks for biomedical image analysis. He has developed several specific applications of these techniques, including 3D image-guided neurosurgery for brain cancer and epilepsy, prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment, characterization of Alzheimer’s disease, guided treatment of coronary artery disease, minimally invasive lung cancer diagnosis and treatment, catheter-based myocardial ablation for atrial fibrillation, radiation therapy planning and guidance, craniofacial reconstructive surgery and histological/pathologic analysis.
Dr. Robb has designed and taught several academic courses in image processing and visualization, and has developed a unique curriculum in biomedical imaging. He has successfully mentored 25 Ph.D. students. His continuing interests include design and evaluation of new-generation paradigms for biomedical imaging and visualization systems of the future, particularly for medical treatment planning and minimally invasive clinical procedures, computer assisted surgery, medical education, and basic science curricula.