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James T. Dobbins III

Professor Emeritus in Radiology
2424 Erwin Road, Suite 302, Durham, NC 27705
2424 Erwin Road, Suite 302, Durham, NC 27705


James T. Dobbins III, PhD, FAAPM, FSPIE

Associate Vice Provost Emeritus
Professor Emeritus of Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Physics
Founding Director Emeritus, Medical Physics Graduate Program
Director Emeritus, Office of Duke Kunshan University Programs

Secretary Emeritus (ex officio) | Duke Kunshan University Board of Trustees
Past President | American Association of Physicists in Medicine
Co-founder and Past President | Society of Directors of Academic Medical Physics Programs, Inc.

I served in senior university administration as Associate Vice Provost for DKU Programs from 2015-2020.  I was part of the small team of senior administrators that designed, built, and launched Duke’s joint venture university in China – Duke Kunshan University (DKU) – which offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees to a global community of students; I also served as Secretary of the DKU Board of Trustees.

My research career has focused on the application of physics to medicine.  I have undertaken projects ranging from theoretical/mathematical modeling, to clinical trials, to development and implementation of new imaging modalities.  Specific areas of research have included quantitative metrics for image quality, novel digital imaging techniques such dual-energy radiography and tomosynthesis, stochastic methods for reducing image noise, and development of lower-cost imaging for the developing world.  Several research projects in my lab have contributed to FDA-cleared diagnostic imaging techniques now in clinical use in hundreds of hospitals worldwide.  I received the 1992 Stauffer Award for best clinical research publication in the journal Investigative Radiology and the 1996 Sylvia Sorkin Greenfield Award for best scientific publication in the journal Medical Physics.

I also have a passion for leadership and education.  I was the Founding Director of the Medical Physics Graduate Program at Duke, which includes over 50 faculty and trains MS and PhD students in diagnostic imaging physics, radiation oncology physics, nuclear medicine physics, and medical health physics; this program is now among the top three graduate programs in its field in the US.  I am co-founder and past-president of the Society of Directors of Academic Medical Physics Programs, Inc, which works to strengthen medical physics education, and past-president of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), an organization of 10,000 members worldwide.  I previously served as Chair of the Education Council of AAPM, and through that work influenced major educational directions for our field.  I am a Fellow of AAPM and SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics.  In 2022, I received a distinguished faculty award from the Duke Medical Physics Graduate Program and was emcee of the first-ever graduation exercises at Duke for Duke Kunshan University undergraduate degrees alongside President Vincent Price and former Provost Sally Kornbluth.

Whether in biomedical research, education, or university leadership, the goal of my career has been to enhance the common good in our globally connected community.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Professor Emeritus in Radiology · 2022 - Present Radiology, Clinical Science Departments

Education, Training & Certifications

University of Wisconsin, Madison · 1985 Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin, Madison · 1983 M.S.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill · 1978 B.S.