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Bioelectrics Engineering Student Wins International Award

Thomas Camp, a doctoral student in electrical engineering at Old Dominion University and a researcher at the university's Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, has received the High Voltage Association Student Excellence Award at the 2008 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) International Power Modulator Conference.

A plaque and $1,000 honorarium were presented to Camp at the conference in Las Vegas on Thursday, May 29. He also received travel and registration grants to attend the conference.

Camp is the graduate student of Karl Schoenbach, ODU's Batten Endowed Chair in Bioelectrics Engineering and the director of the Reidy Center. In his nomination letter, Schoenbach said Camp "is not only an outstanding student, one of the best I have ever had, but has the potential to become a scientific leader in any field of research that he pursues."

After receiving his bachelor's degree in physics with a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University, Camp came to ODU in January 2006 to begin a master's program in physics. But he soon became interested in pulsed-power research at the Reidy Center and he decided to change his major. He was accepted into the doctoral program in electrical engineering in the spring of 2007.

"Thomas is working on one of our most exciting research programs: the study of high-power, subnanosecond pulsed electric field effects on cells and tissues," Schoenbach explained in the nomination letter. This line of research could lead to the development of wide-band, near-field antennae for diagnostics and treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Last year, Camp was part of a Reidy Center research team that won a $34,000 grant from the Breeden-Adams Foundation in Norfolk to explore the use of antennae to deliver ultrafast pulses of electricity to tumors inside the body. Schoenbach and other bioelectrics researchers at ODU had previously shown that they could use the ultrafast pulses to bring about remission of cancers on the skin of mice. Their experiments also have shown that bioelectric strategies against cancer can kill tumor cells without harming healthy cells or causing other side effects associated with many cancer therapies.

Schoenbach wrote in the nomination letter that Camp has developed a special pulsed-power generator and shown other indications that he "loves to improve and to invent" instrumentation. The student was able to machine all the parts of a pulsed-power system in the Reidy Center machine shop. The mentor said his student has been a quick study not only in pulsed power, but also in biological studies associated with the center's research.

This article was posted on: May 29, 2008

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