Behind every great medical advance, there’s a great engineer.
By Elizabeth Kelsey
Photographs by John Sherman
Anyone who goes to the doctor benefits from the work of engineers. Every medical device represents a collaboration between doctors eager for better ways to treat patients and engineers eager to push technological boundaries. Dartmouth engineers have focused on medical technologies since the 1960s, when Professor John Strohbehn started a biomedical engineering program at Thayer. Collaborating with clinicians at Dartmouth Medical School, Strohbehn directed his inventive skills to a wide range of medical applications, including mathematical models for X-ray tomography, an interactive image processor for clinical use, hyperthermia techniques for destroying cancer cells with heat, and a frameless stereotactic operating microscope for neurosurgeons. His work inspired several graduate students who today are lead researchers at Thayer, including Professor Stuart Trembly Th’82, who developed a microwave thermokeratoplasty technique to correct nearsightedness, and Keith Paulsen Th’86, who heads the engineering side of Dartmouth’s comprehensive medical imaging programs.