Yongmin Kim, Ph.D.

Creating a 21st-century healthcare system via engineering innovations

In addition to producing well-educated and trained workforce and future leaders in our students, universities develop novel innovations, remarkable discoveries and breakthrough technologies by working on high-risk research and making what people believe impossible possible.  Although many pioneering discoveries are being made and new exciting technologies are being developed in academia, even the most promising technologies face numerous obstacles in technology commercialization, particularly in healthcare.  They typically languish and die in the valley of death, frustrating the researchers, investors, and governments alike.

Translational research from lab bench to the marketplace where products and services are provided and consumed is far more difficult and time-consuming than many people estimate or are willing to tolerate.  For the benefit of humanity, on the other hand, our mission points us to incessantly making engineering innovations with creativity, collaboration and perseverance so that a better healthcare system for prevention, diagnosis, therapy and management can be developed and deployed around the world although the problems look daunting and impossible.  To make the (seemingly) impossible possible takes courage, confidence and competence with partnership, patience and determination.  Also, we have to get out from our comfortable silo and break down the tall walls between researchers, laboratories, departments/disciplines, institutions, and countries. In this presentation, I will share my experiences and opinions on the obstacles and formula of success (or failure) in academic research and technology commercialization, improving the quality of healthcare.


Yongmin_KimDr. Yongmin Kim received BS degree in electronics engineering from Seoul National University in 1975, and MS and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from University of Wisconsin in 1979 and 1982, respectively.

For 29 years from 1982 to 2011, he was Professor of Bioengineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Adjunct Professor of Radiology and Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle.  From 1999 to 2007, he was Professor and Chair of Bioengineering.  From 2004 to 2007, he was Hunter and Dorothy Simpson Endowed Chair in Bioengineering.  From September 2011 to August 2015, he was President of Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in Korea.  Currently, he is Past President and Professor of the Department of Creative IT Engineering at POSTECH.  From September 2015 to February 2016, he was Advisor to Washington Research Foundation in Seattle, Washington.

His research interests include medical imaging and computing, ultrasound systems, distributed diagnosis and home healthcare, and computer architecture.  He has supervised many graduate students, leading to ~40 Ph.D. and ~100 Masters degrees.  Dr. Kim and his research group have made 85 inventions that have led to ~70 patents, transferred the invented technologies to industry with 27 licenses, and helped commercialization of these technologies.  He has more than 450 research publications.

Dr. Kim received the 2003 Ho-Am Prize in Engineering.  In 2005, he received Distinguished Achievement Award from University of Wisconsin.  He received IEEE/EMBS Early Career Achievement Award and IEEE/EMBS Distinguished Service Award in 1988 and 2010, respectively.  In 2011, he received IEEE EMBS William J. Morlock Award.  In 2012, he was selected as the University of Washington Medicine Inventor of the Year.

He was Program Chair of 1989 IEEE EMBS Conference and Chair of SPIE Medical Imaging Image Display Conference from 1990 to 1999.  He was Symposium Chair of SPIE Medical Imaging from 1998 to 2001.  He was Conference Co-Chair of 2009 IEEE EMBS Conference. From 1992 to 2006, he was ABET program evaluator for computer engineering and bioengineering.  He served on IEEE Fellow Committee from 1998 to 2001. He served on the IEEE/EMBS Administrative Committee for many years.  He was the IEEE/EMBS President in 2005 and 2006.  Dr. Kim is Fellow of the IEEE, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and International Academy for Medical and Biological Engineering.