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Last Updated: 10/28/16

Obituary for Larry Clarke, Ph.D., Branch Chief, Imaging Technology Branch

Posted on April 20, 2016

Larry passed away on April 16th after a short illness. We will all miss him, both personally and scientifically.

Dr. Laurence P. Clarke, Branch Chief of the Image Technology Development Branch of the Cancer Imaging Program, DCTD/NCI passed away in Florida on Saturday April 16 from acute myeloid leukemia. Larry, as he preferred to be called, was a leader in medical imaging technology and the championed the advancement of bringing quantitative imaging into clinical trials. His career spanned nearly forty years, two continents, and both academic and government service. Earning his Ph.D. in medical physics at National University of Ireland in 1978, Larry crossed the Atlantic to begin a career in academia, contributing to student advancement at the University of South Florida and H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, as well as at the University of Miami and more recently as an adjunct professor at George Washington University. In 1999 Larry put his academic career behind him to enter government service for NCI as Branch Chief for the Cancer Imaging Program. He did not put his educational skills behind him, however, as he continued to mentor many associates and scientists through the avenues of clinical imaging technologies during his government career.

One of Larry’s visions was the development of large public databases such as the LIDC (Lung Imaging Database Consortium) and RIDER (Reference Image Database for Evaluation of Response). These have been valuable for benchmarking quantitative imaging tools for measuring response the therapy. This led to the creation of the Quantitative Imaging Network (QIN) in in 2008, in which imaging scientists and oncologists from universities across the country participate in the development of tools and methods to extract reliable quantitative information from medical images in order to predict or measure patient’s response to cancer therapies. This legacy of his work continues today.

Larry’s work has been a rewarding experience. He is a long-standing Fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) and a recently inducted Fellow in the SPIE professional society. In addition, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) inducted Larry into its College of Fellows for outstanding contributions to the advancement of biomedical imaging, especially in the realm of cancer diagnosis and treatment. He has published numerous peer-reviewed papers and served as Associate Editor for Medical Physics. His impact on the advancements in the field of cancer imaging cannot be underestimated.

Larry leaves behind a large volume of completed achievements, many devoted friends and colleagues, and a loving family. The funeral mass in his honor and memory was as he would have liked it; a Catholic service surrounded by family and friends in the town of his wife’s youth. Family included wife, Alice; daughters Allisun and Laura; sons-in-law Edward Sfeir and Edward Jose, and four grand-children.

The SPIE has also posted an obituary on their website, that describes his visionary achievements in imaging technology.