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ORNL’s Tourassi named IEEE Fellow

ORNL Associate Laboratory Director for Computing and Computational Sciences. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy
Gina Tourassi, ORNL associate laboratory director for Computing and Computational Sciences. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Gina Tourassi, associate laboratory director for computing and computational sciences at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, the world’s largest organization for technical professionals.

Fewer than 0.1% of voting IEEE members are selected to be elevated to fellow each year. Tourassi was recognized for her “contributions to artificial intelligence and high-performance computing in medicine.”

As associate laboratory director at ORNL, Tourassi oversees nearly 500 staff members. Prior to her current role, Tourassi served as director of the National Center for Computational Sciences where she oversaw the deployment of Frontier, the world’s first exascale computer. Frontier is currently the number one computer on the TOP500 list, the fourth time ORNL has held this position. 

Tourassi joined ORNL in 2011 as director of the Biomedical Science and Engineering Center. Since then, she has served as leader for ORNL’s Biomedical Sciences, Engineering and Computing group and director of the laboratory’s Health Data Sciences Institute, which she also founded. Other roles include University of Tennessee-ORNL joint faculty in the Bredesen Center; UT-ORNL joint professor in UT’s Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering; and adjunct professor of Radiology at UT and Duke University.

Before ORNL, Tourassi had a distinguished academic career at Duke, where she spent nearly 20 years and earned a doctorate in biomedical engineering, following a bachelor’s in physics from Aristotle University in Greece. It was during her tenure at Duke that she first leveraged cutting-edge computing and data capabilities for breakthroughs in medicine. 

“Elevation to fellow status in this distinguished scientific society is a profound honor, symbolizing the culmination of dedicated service and the recognition of my peers,” said Tourassi. “It is also a celebration of shared excellence as I’m standing among accomplished women who have earned this honor. It inspires me to continue contributing to our collective pursuit of scientific knowledge and technical innovation.”

Besides being an IEEE senior member, Tourassi is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, SPIE (international society for optics and photonics) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2016, she won the Secretary’s Appreciation Award for her leadership of the DOE-National Cancer Institute interagency partnership that focused on the advancement of cancer research through exascale computing. Tourassi was also a member of three teams honored with Secretary’s Honor Awards, including two recognitions in 2021 for contributions to the COVID-19 response. Locally, she has been honored by the YWCA Knoxville for mentoring underrepresented groups in STEM.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit