Brad Sutton named a 2019 University Scholar

Brad Sutton, a professor of bioengineering, has been named a University Scholar in recognition of his excellence in research, teaching, and service.

Brad Sutton, a professor of bioengineering, has been named a University Scholar in recognition of his excellence in research, teaching, and service. He will receive the award at a campus reception in September.

The University Scholars Program aims to recognize outstanding faculty members and provide them with funding to help their scholarly activities. Begun in 1985, the program recognizes 12 faculty members from the three University of Illinois campuses and provides each with $15,000 per year for three years. The money may be used for travel, equipment, research assistants, books, or other purposes.

Sutton-MRE
Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) of the brain uses magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain stiffness. Using an optimized, non-invasive MRE acquisition and leveraging multidisciplinary research teams at the Beckman Institute, Sutton and his colleagues are able to measure the stiffness of the brain and have found significant relationships with disease process, memory performance, and aging.

Sutton’s research interests include developing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods to understand the structure and function of the brain and its age-related changes, imaging blood flow and mechanical properties of the brain, along with developing techniques to understand how the brain controls muscles during speech and swallowing.

“Brad is the go-to person on our campus for conducting MRI research,” said Rohit Bhargava, a Founder Professor of Engineering and Bliss Faculty Scholar in the Department of Bioengineering and the director of the Cancer Center at Illinois. “In addition to developing technology, Brad has enabled many applications for a wide variety of science across our campus. He boasts an immense portfolio of collaborative research.”

Sutton started as an assistant professor of bioengineering in 2006 and rose to become a professor in 2017. In addition to his appointment as a professor, he also serves as the technical director of the Biomedical Imaging Center at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Sutton also is affilated with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Neuroscience Program, and the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine. He is an author on 116 papers and nine patents.

“Having joined the department six months before Sutton, I have had the pleasure to observe his multitude of contributions firsthand,” Bhargava said. “He is an amazing faculty member with an all-round record of accomplishment and impact across many parts of campus. He is deeply dedicated, highly engaging, and exceptionally collegial.”

In addition to his research contributions, Sutton has made several other contributions to the university. His teaching abilities have frequently earned him a position in the list of teachers ranked excellent and he won the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2015. In addition, he has served on several committees including the Provost committee of the Teaching Advancement Board, and the College of Engineering Associate Heads committee. He also was awarded the Beckman Institute's Vision and Spirit Award in 2018 for exemplifying institute founder Arnold Beckman's vision of excellence, interdisciplinarity, and collaboration.

His extensive teaching experience led to his recruitment as a faculty member of the Carle-Illinois College of Medicine (CI MED) where he helped develop the curriculum. “Without Brad’s contributions, the CI MED would likely not be as successful as it is today. His actions have a direct bearing on the reputation and excellence of the university,” Bhargava said.

“I am very grateful for the award and its recognition. I am also grateful for the excellent colleagues who have shown me the way,” Sutton said. “I am surrounded every day by faculty and staff who truly enjoy training the next generation of scientists and engineers to address the grand challenges ahead.”