The Edison Edge: Izzy Jansen
Izzy Jansen joined GE Research’s Edison Engineering Development Program (EEDP) in 2016. A recent graduate of the EEDP, Izzy started the program working on PET detector block calibration and finished working primarily in MRI technology.
Izzy’s academic background is in physics—she received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and attended Leiden University in the Netherlands for her MS. She loves how her work at GE Research allows her to use her physics education to solve problems. “I really like the rotational nature of the EEDP—it’s given me a chance to figure out what I can do with physics in the real world,” says Jansen. The program has shown her how physics research works across a variety of disciplines, and it has helped her discover what she loves: the practical applications of physics in healthcare.
Izzy’s second rotation exposed her to software and business programming for the healthcare industry. She worked on bioprocess machine data and connectivity—a project that was initially outside of her comfort zone. While she’d had some coding experience in college, she wasn’t sure how well her knowledge would translate to research of a real-world problem. That rotation taught her an important lesson: that the project wasn’t as far out of her comfort zone as she had originally thought. Since, Izzy has organized and taught three intermediate python courses at GE Research.
Though participation in the EEDP has many benefits, two experiences stand out for Izzy. In May of 2019, she traveled to Montreal to present the results of an independent project that she designed and created at the annual International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) conference. The project involved using neural networks—computing systems that are modeled after the human brain—to segment the human body, for use in running safety simulations. At the conference, she had the opportunity to connect with top researchers in the MR field. And while on her third rotation, her team submitted a few patents—one of which she is the first author on.
A mentor once told Izzy to be sure to find a best friend at work. She took that advice, and the relationships she’s forged with her fellow Edison Engineers and with other researchers have helped her to enjoy her time at GE Research even more. Izzy rotated out of the EEDP this summer, joining the Magnetic Resonance (MR) physics team as a research scientist. And while her path has changed since she’s been at GE Research, Izzy would still call herself a physicist at heart.