In recent years, going through airport security has felt increasingly more tedious and time consuming. Because of this, Limor Eger (PhD ’12) decided to explore how this could be improved through her research at Boston University. Specifically, she focused on how multi-energy measurements in X-ray tomography could be used to increase the accuracy of the baggage screening process.
As a result of her promising research, Eger was awarded one of this year’s BU Women’s Guild Awards that recognizes remarkable women in different fields solving problems in the world.
For Eger, receiving the BU Women’s Guild award provided her with the encouragement she needed as a PhD student.
“I was really happy and honored to receive this award, which supports women in academia,” she said. “The award made me feel appreciated and valued.”
In engineering, a primarily male dominated field, achieving equal research opportunities, wages, and faculty positions is still a challenge.
As a member of the BU Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (GWISE) organization, Eger mentors and works with other women in the field. She said, “I sometimes feel like I have to prove myself as a woman. Being part of GWISE has helped me a lot in understanding and getting prepared for the challenges women face in the field.”
Eger added that winning the award increased awareness of the BU Women’s Guild and encouraged many of her friends in GWISE to apply as well.
Researching the role of X-ray tomography in baggage screening at airports stemmed from Eger’s interest in image reconstruction. She works closely with her co-advisors, Professor W. Clem Karl (ECE) and Professor Prakash Ishwar (ECE). Karl, suggested the real world problem as a way to apply the mathematical tools she was learning through her PhD work.
“Limor is an outstanding, focused graduate researcher,” said Karl. “Her preliminary results suggest that improved performance is possible by applying engineering methods to the problem.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also recognized Eger’s creativity when she was selected to attend an aviation security workshop.
She got involved in aviation security at Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats (ALERT), a DHS Center of Excellence, that includes researchers from Northeastern and BU. Through her work with ALERT, she aims to make aviation security more precise by reducing the rate of false alarms and expenses for luggage scanning systems. Through the project she has been able to attend many conferences and workshops where she can meet other researchers and students in her field.
“Aviation security is a globally collaborative area of research,” said Eger. By attending workshops and conferences, she finds that people from different parts of the world and different disciplines are able to pour new ideas into the discussion. Last year, she was able to attend the UK-US Greenfield Aviation Security Workshop to see how the UK Home Office and US DHS Science and Technology Directorate work together to handle airport security issues.
This summer, Eger is continuing her research on image reconstruction at Analogic Corporation. She is working on a new X-ray CT system with their medical imaging group.
–Sneha Dasgupta (COM ’13)