Statistical Expert Wins Prestigious Naval Grant
Of 409 grant proposals received by the Navy, only 33 were chosen this year. Dr. Priebe was one of only four researchers to be honored in the fields of mathematics or computer science.
The three-year grant will provide him with $75,000 in funding annually, which he plans to use to support the work of graduate students and to set up a sophisticated computer system to test his theories and processes in the area of semiparametric estimation and statistical pattern recognition.
Dr. Priebe is one of the few mathematicians in the country applying semiparametric statistical analysis to the field of computer imaging.
"These techniques have a number of applications. I'm working to help radiologists find anomalies in mammograms, but the same philosophy could help find land mines on a beach or find runways in satellite imagery," explained Dr. Priebe, who joined Hopkins in July after a nine-year career in Navy research and development as a mathematician and scientist.
Much of his current research focuses on recognizing and analyzing the texture of mammograms, medical images used to detect breast cancer.
"Texture is a statistical measure of the roughness of a surface," he explained. "By keying in on the texture under certain conditions, one may find anomalies that may mean the presence of a tumor or other defect. I'm looking for statistically significant departures from the normal tissue. Then I'll try to draw the attention of a radiologist to those areas of the mammogram."
Dr. Priebe is excited by the multi-disciplinary scope of his work.
"One of the main reasons I came to Hopkins is that the administration truly wants interdisciplinary, collaborative efforts," he said. "People in electrical engineering, biomedical engineering and the medical school all have interesting problems I can try to help solve. I hope I can give some value-added to them."
"Pure mathematics is beautiful, but it's nice to find a pay- off somewhere down the line, too," he added.
A native of Lone Rock, Iowa, Dr. Priebe earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Purdue University in 1984, a master's in computer science from San Diego State University in 1988 and a doctorate in information technology (computational statistics) from George Mason University in 1993.
He has published over 60 journal, conference and technical papers.
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