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Alumni/ae Notes

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Class Notes
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* Trifon Laskaris, Ph.D. ’74

Trifon Laskaris, Ph.D. ’74

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Trifon Laskaris ’74 Receives 200th Patent

Trifon Laskaris, Ph.D. ’74, chief engineer and pioneer in imaging technologies at GE Global Research, has been awarded his 200th U.S. patent—a milestone previously reached by only one other GE research lab employee: Thomas Edison.

Laskaris, who began his career with GE in 1967 after earning his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Rensselaer, is credited with developing superconducting magnets for MRI—technology that helped revolutionize modern medicine.

“This is an amazing, but not at all unexpected accomplishment,” said Mark Little, Ph.D. ’82, GE senior vice president and chief technology officer. “Without Trifon’s decades of dedicated research into superconducting magnets, MRI technology would not be where it is today—a mainstay of hospitals around the world.”

Laskaris has been involved in virtually every critical milestone in MRI technology at GE, either personally developing or directing the development of the magnets which are crucial to these imaging devices. From GE’s first MRI system to a series of increasingly sophisticated ones, both open and closed, the higher field strengths enabled by Laskaris’s magnets have led to improved image quality and better diagnosis.

Currently, Laskaris is leading the technology development of next-generation MRI magnets that will greatly increase access to MRI while significantly reducing cost of ownership. “My dream is to get high-end MRI scanners into underserved areas of the world, such as Africa and Asia,” Laskaris told the Albany Times Union. “That would make a big difference in public health and the lives of poor people. That’s what drives me.”

Laskaris has also made pioneering contributions in the development of superconducting rotating machines for power generation. His honors include membership in the National Academy of Engineering, and the Coolidge Fellowship Award, the highest research achievement granted to an individual within GE Global Research.

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