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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Susan Hagness, 31

Medicine

University of Wisconsin- Madison

Breast cancer will strike more than 200,000 women in the United States this year, and 40,000 will die. X-ray mammography is the best way to detect early tumors, but the technique misses one in five cases, and women find the test uncomfortable. Susan Hagness and collaborators have invented a better breast-imaging technique. A woman lies on her back so that her breasts flatten naturally, and an instrument Hagness is developing scans the breast tissue with very-low-power microwaves, which are safer than x-rays. Hagness’s preliminary measurements on breast biopsy specimens indicate that microwave imaging makes malignant tumors stand out better than x-rays do. The energetic Hagness developed sophisticated computer algorithms—which process data collected by the imaging instrument—to enhance the detection and discrimination capabilities of microwave imaging. So far, her computational studies indicate that her approach should detect tumors just a couple of millimeters across, an improvement on the five-millimeter limit of x-ray mammography. The first version of Hagness’s instrument will be used for research.

2002 TR35 Winners

Ewan Birney

Biotechnology

Fiona Brinkman

Biotechnology

Chris Burge

Biotechnology

Benjamin Cravatt

Biotechnology

Nathaniel David

Biotechnology

Susan Hagness

Medicine

Derek Hansford

Materials

J. Joseph Kim

Medicine

Steven Laken

Medicine

Kelvin Lee

Medicine

Milan Mrksich

Materials

Stephen OConnor

Biotechnology

Alexander Olek

Biotechnology

Vijay Pande

Biotechnology

Stephen Quake

Materials

David Sabatini

Biotechnology

John Santini

Medicine

David Schaffer

Medicine

Christoph Westphal

Biotechnology

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