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Memorial to Charles E. Metz


M Giger

M Giger1*, (1) Univ Chicago, Chicago, IL

WE-E-103-1 Wednesday 2:00PM - 3:50PM Room: 103

Charles E. Metz, Ph.D., Professor of Radiology and the Committee on Medical Physics at the University of Chicago, died from pancreatic cancer on July 4 at his home in Burr Ridge. He was 69 years old. [http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2012/07/10/charles-metz-pioneer-imaging-science-1942-2012]

Professor Metz was a pioneer in image science and was instrumental in elucidating the mathematical foundations of imaging science. Metz contributed to nuclear medicine imaging and reconstruction methods, and developed the Metz filter, an image processing filter that concurrently enhances resolution and suppresses noise in nuclear medicine images. Metz was internationally known for both his mathematical and statistical developments in ROC (Receiver Operating Characteristic) analysis and the corresponding practical software, which he freely distributed to scientists and clinicians throughout the world. Currently there are over 15,000 register users (http://metz-roc.uchicago.edu). His paper, “Basic principles of ROC analysis”, which was published in 1978, has been cited nearly 3,000 times. He also advised many on rigorous study designs for both reader studies (including those used in FDA submissions) and CAD (computer-aided diagnosis) evaluations.

Metz was an extraordinary teacher and communicator, known for his clear, thorough, and careful discussions and explanations. He was also generous with his time and was highly sought by students, researchers, and faculty -- he advised or served on dissertation committees for at least 40 students. In the award’s inaugural year and once again, he received the “Kurt Rossmann Award of Excellence in Teaching” from the students in the Graduate Program in Medical Physics at the University of Chicago.

Among his various awards, Metz was also elected as a Fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine in 2004, received the Paul C. Hodges Alumni Society's Excellence Award in 2004, and was awarded the 12th L.H. Gray Medal by the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements in 2005—cited for his “fundamental contributions to basic and applied radiation science.”

Metz was born September 11, 1942, in Bay Shore, N.Y., was raised in Freeport, Long Island, and graduated with honors in 1964 from Bowdoin College with a bachelor’s degree in physics. He earned a master’s degree in 1966 and the Ph.D. degree in 1969 in Radiological Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1969, Metz came to the University of Chicago as an Instructor in Radiology and the Argonne Cancer Research Hospital, rising to assistant professor in 1971, associate professor in 1975, and professor in 1980. He served as Director of the Graduate Program in Medical Physics at the University from 1979 to 1986. His academic career included the publication of over 250 scientific papers and service on multiple institutional as well as national and international committees and advisory boards, including study sections for the National Institutes of Health

Metz was also a humble leader in other areas including the model airplane world, having amassed an impressive collection of books and models of WWII airplanes, which have been donated to the Pritzker Military Library in Chicago.

The field of imaging science has lost a true scientist, educator, and collaborator of the highest caliber, and many of us have also lost a thoughtful and witty mentor, colleague, and friend.

Metz is survived by his daughters, Becky Metz Mavon of Western Springs, Illinois and Molly Metz of Seattle, Washington; grandchildren Charlie, Avery and Oni; and former wife, Maryanne Metz of Chicago.

Professor Metz’s memorial symposium at AAPM 2013 is entitled “Past, Present and Future Roles of ROC Analysis in Medical Imaging and Quantitative Image Analysis”. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) analysis has been a mainstay of many research developments as well as various clinical studies/trials. It has provided medical physicists with a way to objectively measure how data are presented in an image, how people perceive those images, and how one can compare different observers or different imaging modalities with each other. ROC analysis plays an important role in both technology assessment and clinical decision-making, especially as various aspects of imaging biomarkers and personalized medicine are evaluated. Over the past five years, on average, almost 40 papers/year that were published in MEDICAL PHYSICS utilized ROC analysis. The challenges and opportunities in ROC analysis research and in its application in various tasks are active areas, including expanding the mathematical formulation for multiple lesions per image, location-based sensitivity, and evaluation without ground truth, as well as expanding its role in imaging biomarker validation, assessing response to therapy, theranostics, and image-based phenotyping with genomics.


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