Each week, we will be getting to know our faculty members a little bit better. This week, we will be getting to know Dr. Steven Allen.
If there is anyone you want to take Medical Imaging & Image Recon from, it’s Dr. Steven Allen. Dr. Allen has had a passion for the subject since he attended a career fair as a physics student here at BYU. Taking an optics class at the time, he was intrigued by a company’s display of endoscopes, tiny cameras which doctors thread inside veins. This display sparked an excited curiosity in the intersection between physics and biology, in “taking hardcore science and applying it to the human body.”
Human bodies aren't the only type he has dealt with, though. In what he described as both his most fun and funniest research project, he was part of experimenting with brain surgeries on deceased pigs. It was his responsibility to take the heads of the pigs and scan them in a small MRI machine. The only problem? Some of the pigs' heads were too big. So he went to work cutting the heads down to make them fit. Unaware of the project that Dr. Allen was working on, a department ambassador led a group of visitors into the lab for a tour of the incredible technology that the lab boasted. The visitors were greeted instead by Dr. Allen chopping away at a pigs’ heads.
When not busy traumatizing tour groups and teaching classes, Dr. Allen enjoys challenging himself with crossword puzzles, playing with his children, and watching Seinfeld with his wife.
Considering future research, he noted that—while not realistic—if he could discover one thing in his lifetime, it would be whether Hawking radiation is real. In line with his research, though, he said that if there were one thing he could invent, it would be a way to observe ultrasound vibrations from an ultrasound probe inside a living human subject.