Jem Hebden is currently head of the UCL Department of Medical Physics & Bioengineering, and director of the UCL Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory (BORL), which represents a federation of four research groups, each involved in internationally-leading research. These groups are: Near-infrared Spectroscopy (led by Dr. Clare Elwell), Photoacoustics and Optical Ultrasound Sensing (Dr. Paul Beard), Theory and Modelling (Prof. Simon Arridge), and my own Experimental Imaging group. The original biomedical optics group was founded by Prof. David Delpy in the 1980’s, and a few years ago Jem was responsible for creating BORL and the current federal structure. The new organisation has provided greater opportunities for individuals to raise their research profiles (as leaders of their own groups), while still retaining the benefits of membership of the largest team of biomedical optics researchers in Europe.
BORL continues to pioneer the development of new optical instruments and techniques for monitoring tissue oxygenation and metabolism. To date, BORL has attracted more than £6M of external funding (not including several major multi-centre grants) from EPSRC, Wellcome Trust, Action Research, and other funding sources including industry. We have been awarded 24 patents and have published well over 300 papers.
Jem joined the UCL Department of Medical Physics & Bioengineering in 1992 when he vacated a tenure-track position at the University of Utah to take up a 5-year Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship (later renewed for a further 5 years).