Coulter BME professor joins 5 other Georgia Tech faculty members among 2022 class
May Dongmei Wang comes from a family of scientists and engineers, so she has long known the prestige and hard work signified by fellowship in IEEE. That makes her elevation to the professional organization’s Grade of Fellow in 2022 the fulfillment of a lifelong aspiration.
“My professors and my parents told me that, except for the National Academy of Engineering, IEEE Fellow is one of the highest recognitions for our profession. I have been learning from giants, working very hard, and have dreamed one day that I can reach to this level,” Wang said. “Thus, this elevation is a dream coming true. I am honored and truly appreciate everyone who helped me along the way — especially those from electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech, Lucent Technologies Bell Labs, and my parents and husband.”
Fellowship is the highest grade of membership, granted to less than 0.1% of IEEE members each year. It is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honor and an important career achievement. The selection committee and IEEE Board of Directors cited Wang’s “contributions to biomedical informatics and AI.”
A professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, Wang also is a Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Faculty Fellow and a Georgia Cancer Distinguished Scholar. Her research focuses on biomedical big data analytics, particularly biomedical and health informatics for predictive, personalized, and precision health.
Over the last two decades, Wang and her team have made seminal contributions in using data-driven informatics and extended-reality solutions to solve clinical and health decision-making challenges in genetic diseases; cancer; and pediatric, neurological, and chronic conditions. Her team has addressed significant artificial intelligence challenges in biomedical data, such as data quality control, multi-modality data integration, causal inference modeling, real-time decision making, and explainable AI.
Wang currently serves as chair of the Biomedical and Health Informatics Technical Community in the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society and chair of Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group in Bioinformatics. As senior editor of the IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics, she organized an IEEE Healthcare Summit and a special journal issue focused on using biomedical health informatics and artificial intelligence to combat pandemics.
Wang said her new status as a fellow marks a new phase of her career.
“My goals are not only to fulfill the missions of training young generations of engineers and leaders while researching and inventing biomedical AI and new intelligent-reality solutions, but also to continually grow our profession by leading local, national, and international research and educational activities,” Wang said.
Already, she’s taking on new leadership roles to pursue that effort: Earlier this month, she joined the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society executive committee as vice president-elect for conferences. The role continues many years of service to IEEE that began when Wang was a graduate student in Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
“Participating in IEEE activities opened my eyes,” Wang said. “Over the years, my role kept shifting from learning knowledge as a student, to sharing knowledge as a presenter, to acting as an organizer, and then to a new phase of being a leader to grow a new technical community and to make history. This experience helped me, personally, to be open-minded, visionary, proactive, and inclusive. As a result, it also helped my entire team of students and mentees to learn from leaders, to conduct state-of-art research, and to gain internship opportunities from top companies, such as Google, Apple, Intuitive Surgical, Pfizer, and others.”
Wang also gave credit to her years as a Tech Ph.D. student, and to the mentors who helped her establish her research and career, and for the trajectory of her career.
“Those years helped me cope with culture shock as an international student, prepared me to become a teacher, and nurtured me to be a proactive researcher,” she said. “More importantly, the warm and supportive environment has shaped me to be a positive, resilient, and supportive team player and leader. I am forever grateful to Georgia Tech; my Ph.D. thesis advisor, Dr. Russ Mersereau; and many mentors, colleagues, and friends. My success today cannot be possible without them and Georgia Tech’s long-standing value and culture.”
In addition to Wang, IEEE’s class of 2022 fellows included Ghassan AlRegib, Bonnie Ferri, Arijit Raychowdhury, and Maryam Saeedifard, professors in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Levent Degertekin, professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering.