Following In Her Grandfather's Footsteps

The Most Influential Turkish-American #13 - Banu Onaral, granddaughter of Nuri Demirağ, who was an early Turkish industrialist (in 1936 he established an aircraft factory employing 500 people in İstanbul), is H. H. Sun Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering at Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. She received her BS and MS in electrical engineering from Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey, in 1973 and 1974 respectively and earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. 
Dr. Onaral joined the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering and Science Institute at Drexel University in 1981. Starting in 1995, she led the strategic planning to transform the Biomedical Engineering and Science Institute into a university-level interdisciplinary school. She served as the Founding Director of the School of Biomedical Engineering Science and Health Systems since its foundation in 1997 to 2014. She currently serves as Senior Presidential Advisor for ‘Global Innovation Partnerships’ at Drexel University.

Her academic focus both in research and teaching is centered on information engineering with special emphasis on complex systems, biomedical signal processing in ultrasound and optics and functional optical brain imaging. She has led major research and development projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), DARPA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) and the US Marines. She supervised a large number of graduate students to degree completion and has an extensive publication record in biomedical signals and systems.

She founded several laboratories throughout her career: the most recent is the CONQUER (Cognitive Neuroengineering and Quantitative Experimental Research) CollabOrative established in Fall 2008 as an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional and international resource dedicated to the study of brain activation, development and deployment of optical brain imaging technologies in human performance, healthcare, mental health and learning with research and development partners in the US and overseas, including China, Israel, Spain and Turkey.   

She is the recipient of a number of faculty excellence awards including the 1990 Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award of Drexel University, the EDUCOM Best educational Software award and the NSF Faculty Achievement Award. She is a Fellow of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a Founding Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). She served on the inaugural Board of the AIMBE as publications chair and as Chair of the Academic Council.

Dr. Onaral’s professional services include chair and membership on advisory boards and strategic planning bodies of several universities and funding agencies, including service on the National Science Foundation's Engineering Advisory Board, and on the proposal review panels and study sections. Her professional responsibilities have included service on the Editorial Board of journals and the CRC Biomedical Engineering Handbook as Section Editor for Biomedical Signal Analysis.
She served as President of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS), the largest member-based biomedical engineering society in the world. Earlier, she had served as Vice-President of Conferences of IEEE-EMBS. She has been active in conference leadership; notably, she organized and chaired the 1990 Annual International Conference of the EMBS and Co-Chaired the 2004 Annual Conference of the Biomedical Engineering.
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07
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