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Assistant professor recognized with Vaughnie Lindsay New Investigator Award

In acknowledgement of his proven record and continued promise of making significant research contributions to his field of study, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Jon Klingensmith, PhD, has been recognized with the Graduate School’s 2020-21 Vaughnie Lindsay New Investigator Award.

Klingensmith is an assistant professor in the School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering who specializes in digital signal processing and biomedical imaging.

The award supports his research project, Segmentation and Modeling of Adipose Tissue and Coronary Arteries in Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Images, which involves the development of algorithms for identification of fat in cardiac images to provide a non-invasive assessment of heart disease risk not currently available. Klingensmith will receive a combined $12,500 from the SIUE Graduate School and the SOE to be used in a one-year period.

“I am elated to have received the Vaughnie Lindsay New Investigator Award,” Klingensmith said. “The list of past recipients is impressive. I continue to be amazed by the wealth of research happening at SIUE and how it is integrated into the student experience.”

“Dr. Klingensmith’s research has already drawn the attention of the American Heart Association, which supports his work through a grant award.” said Jerry Weinberg, PhD, associate provost for research and dean of the SIUE Graduate School. “His research has the potential of making early detection of heart disease cost effective and improving the lives of millions here and around the world.”

As heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, Klingensmith emphasizes his passion for developing imaging-related technologies and algorithms to aid in its assessment.

Klingensmith previously worked in industry developing products to image coronary artery disease from inside-out using catheter-based ultrasound. Upon joining SIUE and connecting with collaborator Maria Fernandez del Valle, PhD, assistant professor of exercise physiology in the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior, Klingensmith became interested in the link between the layer of fat around the heart and its potential influence on the disease inside the coronary arteries.

“While I had spent my entire career focused on characterizing coronary plaques with intravascular ultrasound, I hadn’t thought much about the influence of the cardiac fat tissue on the disease inside the arteries,” he explained. “Now, we are focused on using 3D image analysis and deep learning to work toward predicting coronary disease with non-invasive cardiac magnetic resonance.”

Klingensmith also collaborates with a cardiac radiologist at the Washington University School of Medicine. Additionally, he plans to pursue future collaboration with an interventional cardiologist for the proposed project.

A respected teacher-scholar, Klingensmith’s award proposal was strongly supported by ECE Chair and Professor Andy Lozowski, PhD.

“Dr. Klingensmith is a methodical and focused researcher with a clear vision and goals spanning multiple years of future research,” Lozowski said. “He created the Biomedical Imaging Research Laboratory in the School of Engineering, and has been a productive researcher in the area of computer-assisted imaging of the heart. An important aspect of his work in the lab is that a number of undergraduate students who engaged early in his research decided to continue as graduate students.”

“SIUE is uniquely positioned to have the advantages and community-feel of a smaller institution, but access to resources and collaborations that make anything possible,” Klingensmith said. “I have lived in several places and worked in both industry and academia, but I couldn’t be happier with the SIUE campus community. I am honored to be a member of it and look forward to this community continuing to thrive in the years ahead.”

Stephen Hansen, PhD, faculty emeritus, established the Lindsay Research Professorship Endowment that funds the award in honor of Lindsay, who served as graduate dean from 1973-1986. Lindsay was responsible for creating much of the infrastructure that supports faculty research and scholarly activity at SIUE. Faculty and emeriti faculty at the time of the award’s conception donated the funds to endow the award.

Those wishing to help support new investigators through the award may donate to the Graduate School section of the endowment at

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