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Vanderbilt mourns loss of imaging pioneer Gibbs

Nov. 1, 2012, 10:21 AM

Longtime Vanderbilt faculty member S. Julian Gibbs, DDS, Ph.D., professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Emeritus, died Oct. 25. He was 80.

S. Julian Gibbs, DDS, Ph.D.

A native of northwest Alabama, Dr. Gibbs studied sciences at the University of Alabama and received his DDS from Emory University in 1956. After serving in the U.S. Air Force and practicing dentistry in Vernon, Ala., near his family home, Dr. Gibbs developed an interest in the intersection of radiation biology and dentistry.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester, New York, in 1969 and joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1970. Dr. Gibbs’ early research centered on the radiation dose to patients from medical and dental radiologic procedures and he was a pioneer in applying computational techniques to studies of radiation dose distribution to critical organs.

More recently, Dr. Gibbs focused on research involving magnetic resonance imaging of the temporomandibular joint and gradient-localization spectroscopy. He was a diplomate and former president of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, a fellow and former president of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (AAOMR) and a member of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurments Committee.

During his career, Dr. Gibbs authored or co-authored more than 150 articles, chapters and presentations.

“Dr. Gibbs was a kind friend and wonderful colleague,” said Ronald Price, Ph.D., Godfrey Hounsfield Chair in Radiology and Radiological Sciences and a colleague of Gibbs for more than two decades. “He was an internationally recognized medical scientist having performed pioneering research in radiation biology as related to therapy and imaging.

“He was also a pioneer in the development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging techniques that are now in common use in dentistry. He will be greatly missed,” Price said.

Among his many interests, Dr. Gibbs was a passionate supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, and served as a coordinator of achievement and advancement at the local and national level. He was also especially fond of choral music and enjoyed participating in the Belle Meade United Methodist Church choir.

Dr. Gibbs is survived by his wife of 54 years, Emily, and his children Phillip (Toynia), Stephen, Julie (Kevin) Tahmoush and six grandchildren.

A memorial service for Dr. Gibbs will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 10 a.m. at Brentwood United Methodist Church, 309 Franklin Road. Visitation will be held from 9-10 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to noon.

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