Our research takes advantage of the complexity of wave propagation in heterogeneous media, to retrieve information on the micro-architecture of heterogeneous solids such as bone, biological soft tissue or metallic foams.
Margin visualization for lung cancer surgery:
Ultrasound is real time and non-ionizing. As such, it would be ideal as an imaging technology to monitor and guide surgery. Unfortunately, conventional ultrasound is very challenging in lung tissue, in part due to the large amounts of ultrasound scattering by the alveoli. Lung nodules do not contain alveoli, and are not responsible for as much scattering as healthy lung tissue. By using ultrasound scattering as a source of contrast for imaging, we can detect and localize nodules in inflated lungs, as well as measure the distance from the nodule edge to a surgical stapler. This will enable the surgeon to verify the resection margin during minimally invasive lung cancer surgery, and will improve the chance of cure.
Lung Tissue Characterization:
Ultrasound is unsuitable for imaging the lung due to scattering by millions of air-filled alveoli in the parenchyma. However, ultrasound would be a fantastic alternative to CT scanning for point-of-care evaluation of the lung, or in the ER. We take advantage of the complexity of ultrasound propagation in the lung. We use our knowledge of the Physics of wave propagation in complex media to extract meaningful properties that reflect changes in the lung. We demonstrated in a rat model that we can evaluate the severity of pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary edema. This could help follow up the response to treatments for patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or cardiogenic pulmonary edema.
Complex porous media:
In bone, or metal foams, bulk material properties alone do not predict mechanical properties. Understanding their micro-architecture is essential to the prediction of their mechanical competence. Our research provides model-based ultrasonic methods to non-invasively characterize, in situ, the mechanical competence of porous materials by determining their micro-mechanical and micro-architectural properties.
The micro-architecture of soft tissue is modified by the pathology. For example, vascular networks associated with tumors are more random, vessels are more tortuous, with uneven diameters. Vascular networks associated with malignant lesions are also denser and more isotropic than normal vascular networks.
Our lab develops methods based on the principles of wave propagation in complex media to characterize the microvasculature. Ultimately they will be used to increase the specificity of ultrasound for the screening, diagnosis and monitoring of the malignancy of lesions.
Ultrasound stimulation of platelet-like particles:
Platelet-like particles are highly deformable microgels that emulate the behavior of platelets. We use ultrasound to stimulate them, inducing larger deformations and we are demonstrating that this increases the rate of wound healing. This research may help patients with diabetes.