Dr. Elise Fear

Dr. Elise Carolyn Fear

Pronouns: she/her


Professor and Associate Head - Research

Schulich School of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Software Engineering


Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute

Contact information

Phone number

Office: 403.210.5413


Office: ICT353


Educational Background

B.A.Sc. Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo, 1995

Doctor of Philosophy Electrical Engineering, University of Victoria, 2001

Master of Applied Science Electrical Engineering, University of Victoria, 1997

NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship Electrical and Computer Engineering, The University of Calgary, 2002


Elise Fear received the B.A.Sc. degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo (Canada) in 1995, and the M.A.Sc. and PhD. Degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Victoria (Canada) in 1997 and 2001, respectively.  Dr. Fear joined the Department of Electrical and Software Engineering at the University of Caglary in 2002 and is currently Professor and Associate Head - Research.  She was the Alberta Innovates Technology Futures iCORE Strategic Chair in Multimodality Imaging and Sensing from 2013-2017. 

Dr. Fear’s work has been recognized with the Outstanding Paper Award from the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering (2007), the Killam Interdisciplinary Research Prize (2012), the Killam Annual Professorship (2018), and the ASTech Award for Innovation in Healthcare (2023).  Dr. Fear currently serves on the New Technology Directions Committee of the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society and has previously reviewed for multiple competitions for the National Institutes of Health.  Together with research engineer Jeremie Bourqui, Dr. Fear co-founded Wave View Imaging in 2020, a spin-off company aimed at commercializing medical microwave imaging.  Wave View Imaging was one of 3 Canadian companies selected for Pfizer’s Healthcare Hub program in 2023. 


Areas of Research

Microwave imaging and sensing
  • New approaches for imaging and sensing to support cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Microwave imaging and sensing for biomedical and industrial applications
  • Multi-modality imaging and sensing
  • Precision livestock monitoring

My team is developing new approaches to imaging and sensing using microwaves. Microwave-frequency properties of tissues are sensitive to water content. Healthy tissues exhibit different microwave properties, and diseased tissues may exhibit changes in these properties. We have developed prototype systems for breast imaging with microwaves. This includes design and implementation of sensors, development of advanced algorithms to process data and form images, and implementation of prototype systems capable of reliably positioning sensors and collecting data. With collaborators in the Cumming School of Medicine and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, we have tested these systems in small-scale studies of volunteers, showing promise for tumour detection and breast health monitoring. 

We are exploring new applications for microwave imaging and sensing, including hydration monitoring and veterinary applications.

Participation in university strategic initiatives


  • Fellow, Engineering Institute of Canada. 2024
  • Innovation in Medicine/Healthcare/Pharmaceuticals, ASTech. 2023
  • Team Teaching Award, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, The University of Calgary. 2018
  • Killam Annual Professor, The University of Calgary. 2018
  • Highlighted paper, Inverse Problems. 2012
  • Killam Interdisciplinary Research Prize, The University of Calgary. 2012
  • Top 40 Under 40, Calgary Avenue Magazine, 2009
  • IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering 2007 Outstanding Paper Award, 2007


  • Microwave imaging for monitoring breast cancer treatment: A pilot study . Smith, Katrin ; Bourqui, Jeremie ; Wang, Zefang ; Besler, Brendon ; Lesiuk, Mark ; Roumeliotis, Michael ; Quirk, Sarah ; Grendarova, Petra ; Pinilla, James ; Price, Sarah ; Docktor, Bobbie ; Fear, Elise . Medical Physics. (2023)
  • Microwave Imaging of the Breast: Consistency of Measurements Over Time . Smith, K. ; Bourqui, J. ; Garrett, D. ; Zarnke, S. ; Owjimehr, M. ; Deutscher, D. ; Fung, T. ; Fear, E. . IEEE Journal of Electromagnetics, RF and Microwaves in Medicine and Biology. (2022)
  • MWSegEval—An image analysis toolbox for microwave breast images . Kurrant, Douglas ; Abdollahi, Nasim ; Omer, Muhammad ; Mojabi, Pedram ; Fear, Elise ; LoVetri, Joe . SoftwareX. (2021)
  • Feasibility Study of Hydration Monitoring Using Microwaves-Part 1: A Model of Microwave Property Changes With Dehydration . Garrett, David C. ; Fear, Elise C. . IEEE Journal of Electromagnetics, RF and Microwaves in Medicine and Biology. (2019)
  • Feasibility Study of Hydration Monitoring Using Microwaves-Part 2: Measurements of Athletes. Garrett, David Christopher ; Fletcher, Jared R. ; Hogan, David B. ; Fung, Tak Shing ; Fear, Elise C. . IEEE Journal of Electromagnetics, RF and Microwaves in Medicine and Biology. (2019)
  • Anthropomorphic breast model repository for research and development of microwave breast imaging technologies . Omer, Muhammad ; Fear, Elise . Scientific Data. (2018)
  • Adaptive Monostatic System for Measuring Microwave Reflections from the Breast . Bourqui, Jeremie ; Kuhlmann, Martin ; Kurrant, Douglas J ; Lavoie, Benjamin R ; Fear, Elise C . Sensors. (2018)
  • Metrics for Assessing the Similarity of Microwave Breast Imaging Scans of Healthy Volunteers . Lavoie, Benjamin R. ; Bourqui, Jeremie ; Fear, Elise C. ; Okoniewski, Michal . IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging. (2018)
  • System for Bulk Dielectric Permittivity Estimation of Breast Tissues at Microwave Frequencies . Bourqui, Jeremie ; Fear, Elise C. . IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques. (2016)

In the News

More Information

Applied Electromagnetics Group – Team Values and Code of Conduct

The Applied Electromagnetics group develops new approaches to imaging and sensing that incorporate microwave frequencies.  We develop prototype systems and algorithms to translate measured data into outcomes.  Our work has biomedical applications, such as breast cancer detection and treatment monitoring, as well as hydration assessment. Pilot studies are used to assess the efficacy of our solutions for these applications.  This work is inherently collaborative and interdisciplinary.

The Applied Electromagnetics team aims to create a supportive, positive and flexible environment that values diversity of thinking and experiences. We challenge ourselves to innovate, while promoting the excitement and fun that is an important part of research.

Our team is committed to providing pathways into research for the 5 equity-deserving groups (women, racialized people, people with disabilities, Indigenous people, LGBTQ2S+), and to creating and sustaining an equitable and inclusive environment that recognizes intersecting identities. We understand and promote that diversity of experiences and perspectives enhances our projects and improves scientific outcomes.

All team members are expected to adhere to the University of Calgary Code of Conduct.  This code is found at: https://www.ucalgary.ca/legal-services/code-conduct.

The expectations that we have of ourselves and each other include the following:

  • All members of the team are expected to act in a professional manner.
  • All members of the team deserve equal respect and recognition. 
  • All members are expected to use welcoming and inclusive language.  Exclusionary comments, jokes, threats, and violent language are not acceptable. 
  • Team members will not address other team members in an angry, intimidating, or demeaning manner. They will be considerate of the ways the words they choose may impact others. 
  • Harassment is not tolerated.  This includes unwanted physical, sexual, or repeated social contact.  
  • Team members will respect the privacy and safety of others. 
  • Team members will ensure that every member has the opportunity to participate.
  • It is recognized that there are barriers to participation in research.  We will adopt inclusive recruitment strategies by widely advertising positions and reaching out to candidates, as well as using standardized interview methods.  We will also provide opportunities for candidates to meet members of the research team.
  • We will provide training to build skills, advertising opportunities to all team members and recognizing that all members of the team bring valuable skills to the project.  We will promote a positive team environment by including EDI moments at team meetings  and providing flexibility for hours of work.
  • The team will agree on methods to communicate EDI-related issues, and Elise Fear will action items in consultation with the Schulich School of Engineering – Associate Dean EDI as appropriate.