James T. Dobbins III
Professor in Radiology

James T. Dobbins III, PhD., FAAPM
Associate Vice Provost
Director, Office of Duke Kunshan University Programs
Professor of Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Physics
Chair, Education Council, American Association of Physicists in Medicine
Co-founder, Society of Directors of Academic Medical Physics Programs, Inc.

I serve in senior university administration as Associate Vice Provost for DKU Programs.  In this role I oversee the academic and programmatic efforts at Duke for the establishment of the graduate and undergraduate programs at Duke Kunshan University -- Duke's joint venture university in Kunshan, China.

My research career has focused on the application of physics to medicine.  I undertake projects that range from theoretical/mathematical projects, to invention of new imaging devices, to clinical trials and implementation of new imaging modalities.  Several research projects in my lab have resulted in commercial products that are now in use in hundreds of hospitals around the world.

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 50 MS and PhD students in diagnostic imaging physics, radiation oncology physics, nuclear medicine physics, and medical health physics.  I co-founded the Society of Directors of Academic Medical Physics Programs, Inc, which works to strengthen medical physics education worldwide.  And I currently serve as Chair of the Education Council for the American Association of Physics in Medicine, and through this work influence major educational directions for our field.

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 Research Interests

The research in my laboratory focuses on three main areas:  (1) advanced imaging applications to improve diagnostic accuracy in clinical imaging, (2) the scientific assessment of image quality, and (3) developing lower cost imaging for the developing world.

Projects in the area of advanced imaging applications have included applications of dual-energy and digital tomosynthesis for improving detection of cancer in chest and breast imaging.  We are the leading laboratory in the world in the application of tomosynthesis to thoracic imaging applications, and were the first to demonstrate that tomosynthesis can triple the detection sensitivity of pulmonary nodules over conventional chest radiography.  We have had four NIH R01 grants funded to develop, optimize, and perform clinical studies of dual-energy and tomosynthesis imaging; commercial products in both these modalities are now available around the world as a result of our laboratory’s efforts.

My lab’s work in the science of image quality analysis has included substantial effort in the theory and experimental measurement of modulation transfer function, noise power spectrum, and detective quantum efficiency in undersampled digital systems.  We received the Sylvia Sorkin Greenfield award in 1996 for the best publication of the year in the journal Medical Physics as a result of this work.

Current projects include the development of a new noise reduction technique called Correlated-Polarity Noise Reduction for improvement of image quality and reduction of dose in CT imaging, and the development of a lower-cost CT scanner for the developing world.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Contact Information

  • Flowers Bldg, Suite 214, Box 90036, Durham, NC 27708
  • Flowers Bldg, Suite 214, Box 90036, Durham, NC 27708

Some information on this profile has been compiled automatically from Duke databases and external sources. (Our About page explains how this works.) If you see a problem with the information, please write to Scholars@Duke and let us know. We will reply promptly.