Ira J. Kalet, PhD, FACMI

Year Elected: 
University of Washington

Currently: University of Washington

Web site:

Biography and photograph when elected: 

Dr. Kalet received his bachelors degree in Physics from Cornell, and PhD in Theoretical Physics from Princeton. He began his academic career as a Research Associate at the Physics Department at the University of Washington. He subsequently had appointments at Sonoma State College in California, and the Graduation School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a lecturer in mathematics education. He then joined the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Washington, where he progressed from Research Associate in Medical Radiation Physics to full Professor, and at the time of his election to the College, Professor Emeritus. He maintained joint appointments in Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics, Computer Science and Engineering, and Bioengineering and has been an informatics contributor for more than 25 years, having received a best paper award at the 1985 Congress of the American Association for Medical Systems and Informatics (AAMSI). He led the development of the University of Washington M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Biomedical and Health Informatics (BHI) and served until 2004 as the Director of the UW BHI Graduate Program.

Dr. Kalet’s primary and sustained research contribution over the years has been in the use of artificial intelligence and computer engineering methods for the design of radiation treatment planning systems. This work focused on automating the creation of a treatment plan and iterative improvement with generate and test, and "plan repair rules". In 1998 he shifted his research focus to automating the delineation of target volumes. Dr. Kalet has also been a much beloved teacher who has received many awards for excellence in teaching informatics. He single authored a monograph entitled Principles of Biomedical Informatics that illustrates in an elegant way how to write computer programs that can handle data in various forms, perform inference, and use these as a basis for decision support systems in a large variety of applications ranging across information retrieval, discovery of biological networks, drug interactions, radiation therapy planning and computer security. The text has been called a landmark in the field since it is one of the first attempts to develop a theory of biomedical informatics. His election to fellowship recognizes these sustained contributions to the field.