An Era Comes to a Close
Prof. Dr. Heinz-Otto Peitgen, founder and director of the Fraunhofer MEVIS, Institute for Medical Image Computing in Bremen, Germany, is leaving the institute on October 1, 2012 to become president of Jacobs University Bremen in January 2013. The selection procedure for the successor to the directorship at Fraunhofer MEVIS and the associated professorship at the University of Bremen has commenced and already made substantial progress. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has appointed Prof. Dr. Horst Hahn as acting institute director for the duration of the selection procedure.
In the early 1990s, Professor Peitgen, an internationally renowned mathematician and highly awarded researcher, took an interest in medical topics as part of his work at the Center for Complex Systems and Visualization at the University of Bremen. In August 1995, with the support of the State of Bremen, he founded the Center for Medical Diagnostic Systems and Visualization (MeVis Research GmbH), which focused on issues in computer assistance in image-based medicine. In 2009, this nonprofit research institute at the University of Bremen became the current Fraunhofer MEVIS institute, which has since garnered worldwide acclaim. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is Europe’s largest organization for applied research. The institute’s contract partners include industrial and service enterprises as well as public funding bodies.
The aim of the research promoted by Peitgen and his team at MeVis has always been to develop image-based software solutions for use in clinical routines. Under his direction, MeVis Research has been a core research partner in multiple German and European pilot projects for breast cancer diagnosis and mammography screening. Several successful startups have arisen from this research, including the world’s first digital reading system for screening mammography. In addition, an integrated system for magnetic resonance mammography reading was launched to support image-guided tissue extraction and set new standards for the treatment of breast cancer. Peitgen’s team has also developed the world’s leading patient-specific planning and risk analysis solutions for complex liver operations. MeVis’ internet-based planning services have aided surgeons in performing over 6,000 clinical liver resections and transplants.
With the support of the State of Bremen and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), MeVis Research was transformed into an institute of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and was renamed the Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS, in short, Fraunhofer MEVIS. Fraunhofer MEVIS develops interactive assistance systems for clinical routines. The institute focuses on medical image data, which are used for early detection, diagnosis, risk assessment, treatment support, and follow-up for serious conditions such as cancer, lung, brain, and cardiovascular disease. In close cooperation and coordination with a worldwide network of over 150 hospitals, solutions for clinical routines can be developed and brought to the market with industrial partners through a certified development process. Since 2009, Fraunhofer working groups for biophysical modeling, numerical simulation, and physics of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have been established with professorships at Jacobs University and the University of Bremen. In early 2010, The Fraunhofer MEVIS “Image Registration” Project Group was founded at the University of Lübeck to investigate reliable combined evaluation and fusion of medical image data. Since 2011, Fraunhofer MEVIS in Bremen has possessed a next-generation, 3-tesla MRI scanner for developing contrast agent-free imaging techniques and new concepts for intelligent imaging. Thus, Fraunhofer MEVIS has united all of the expertise necessary to exploit the patient-specific information in medical image data and provide clinicians with the knowledge needed for safe diagnoses and custom therapy plans.