Winner of BioEM 2017 Arthur Pilla Young Scientist Award

Authored by: Azadeh Peyman, and Manuel Murbach

Published on: Jul 10, 2017

Manuel Murbach receiving award from Marnus van Wyk

Manuel Murbach with BEMS president Andrew Wood


Many congratulations to Manuel Murbach, for winning this year’s Arthur Pilla Young Scientist Award. The second Annual Arthur Pilla Young Scientist Award ceremony took place at the BioEM2017 Meeting in Hangzhou, China June 2017. For more information on late Dr. Arthur Pilla and the award set in his honor visit here:   and

We asked Manuel to write a few words about his research and experience in BioEM2017, here it is with a few photos showing he has been enjoying his time at Hangzhou!






Award winner’s report
Manuel Murbach

Ever since my Master studies, my research path has involved electromagnetic safety. After attending (and locally organizing) the 2009 BioEM meeting in Davos early in my PhD studies, I began concentrating on MRI safety and attended mainly MRI-safety-related conferences such as the annual meetings of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM). Later, I rejoined BioEM in Asilomar 2015 and came to appreciate once more the refreshing diversity of a more interdisciplinary group — epidemiologists, regulatory agents, neuroscientists, engineers, and veterinarians — all present at one meeting! And I think this diversity leads to a readiness on the part of the attendees to go out for drinks and dancing, a tendency unsurpassed by attendees of any other conference I know! Thus, I would like to thank Guangdi, Arzu and all the other local organizers in Hangzhou for making this happen again in 2017. And I think we reached a new record for the number of professors who attended the Student Ice Breaker this year! 

Safety assessment in electromagnetics is a very broad area. From my biomedical engineering perspective, it involves modelling and measurements of antennas, estimating the induced fields in biological tissues, as well as thermal and physiological modelling of human thermoregulation. In MRI RF safety, the main and undisputed hazard is RF-induced heating with potential tissue damage. This was the context of one of my 2017 presentations in Hangzhou, where we investigated the possibility to increase coverage of the patient population by morphing the available anatomical human models of the Virtual Population. In everyday exposures, as from mobile phones, so-called non-thermal effects are still largely disputed, a dispute that has not changed during the last 10 years while I have been in the field. This sometimes worries me, and I ask myself whether we are doing something wrong…

I was also asked for some tips on how to give presentations. My advice is to look into the audience at the very beginning. Do not read from the slides, unless you somehow get lost and need to reorient yourself. Finally, make a joke or, at least, smile!

Manuel Murbach

Background - MRI Patient Population