Julien Bec has received a Star Award from the Biomedical Engineering Department in recognition of his leadership and outstanding contributions to engineering design and development of state-of-the-art instrumentation/prototypes that have increased the visibility of UC Davis nationally and internationally over the past year. Bec is a key staff engineer for major research projects in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, particularly in the laboratories of Distinguished Professor Simon Cherry and Professor Laura Marcu.
Bec is lead engineer on the $15.5M large-scale project recently funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under its High-Risk High Reward program to develop the world’s first total- body positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. This project involves a consortium of institutions led by UC Davis. Bec did all the engineering design drawings and calculations for the initial feasibility and based in part on his thorough analysis and design work, UC Davis secured this large and prestigious five-year grant to build the first prototype. He is responsible for overseeing all mechanical design aspects of this scanner which is 10-fold larger and more complex than anything ever built before for PET scanning.
Bec is also lead engineer on two major R01 grants funded by the NIH focused on translating biophotonic technologies into the clinic for intravascular diagnosis of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (project in collaboration with Boston Scientific) and intraoperative delineation of tumor margins during transoral robotic surgery (project in collaboration with Intuitive Surgical). Bec designed and constructed the first bi-modal intravascular catheter that combines a unique fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) technology developed at UC Davis with intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) for enhanced detection of plaques that lead to major cardiac events such as heart attack. He is also leading the design and fabrication of fiberoptic probes that allow for the integration of FLIM technology with the da Vinci surgical robot for intraoperative guidance and accurate detection of tumor margins. This project is the first to use a label- free optical technology for real-time delineation of surgical margins during robotic surgery.