We are interested in the application of ultrasound for biomedical imaging, sensing, and therapy. Among others, we collaborate with researchers within the Departments of Radiology, Neurosurgery, Transplant Surgery, and Cardiovascular Imaging at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and the Departments of Orthopedic Surgery and Emergency Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Other collaborators include those at the Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the Boston University Department of Biomedical Engineering.

We have been instrumental in the development of high-intensity focused ultrasound for noninvasive brain surgery and are interested in the continued development of this technology for multiple indications (e.g., cancer, multiple sclerosis, and functional neurosurgery) and the translation of techniques toward novel diagnostic applications (e.g., surgical guidance, portable screening, and wearable monitors).

Students, codes below indicate that projects are available for the following majors:
(P) Physics, (BC) Biochemistry, (C) Chemistry, (B) Biology, (NS) Neuroscience, (CS) Computer Science, (N) Nursing

Ultrasound Neuromonitoring


Transcranial Ultrasound Device for Guiding Emergent Neurosurgery
To emergently treat inflated cerebral ventricles, a cannula is inserted through a skull burr hole to drain the excess fluid. Since the insertion is performed through the intact brain without direct visualization of the ventricle, mistargeting is a significant problem. We have been developing a device that uses transcranial ultrasound to aid in aligning the cannula prior to insertion.
Projects: P, BC, C, NS, N


Transcranial Ultrasound Methods for Detecting Neurological Emergencies
Commercial ultrasound imaging systems are severely limited for transcranial applications. Specifically, information is removed upon collection to produce “diagnostically useful” B-mode images. We are investigating methods designed for specific application—such as detecting intracranial hemorrhages—by retaining and analyzing this information.
Projects: P, BC, C, B, NS, CS, N


Ultrasound Monitors for Detecting and Assessing Traumatic Brain Injury
When the human head experiences a substantially strong impact, the rapid movement of brain tissues can lead to traumatic brain injury. We hypothesize that sufficient negative pressures can be generated in these scenarios to nucleate cavitation in the intracranial space. Further, these events can be detected in situ with high sensitivity and specificity using passive ultrasound sensors.
Projects: P, BC, C, B, NS, CS, N


An Ultrasound Method for Noninvasive Intracranial Pressure Monitoring
Intracranial presser (ICP) is a critical monitoring parameter for head trauma patients and post-operative neurosurgical patients. It is currently monitored by the direct insertion of a pressure transducer through a burr hole drilled into the skull. We hypothesize that the dispersion of high-order skull-based Lamb modes can be used to non-invasively yield information about ICP.
Projects: P, NS, CS, N


A Novel Method for Imaging White Matter During Neurosurgery
During tumor resection in brain surgery, it can be very difficult to differentiate the lesion to be resected from the surrounding normal brain tissue. Although useful, intraoperative ultrasound has limited application due to artifacts and sensitivity. We are developing ultrasound backscatter tensor imaging as a method for identifying white matter, thus improving its intraoperative applicability.
Projects: P, BC, C, B, NS, CS


An Ultrasound Neonatal Neuromonitor
Neonates are vulnerable to severe neurologic injury. Peri/intra-ventricular hemorrhage and hydrocephalus are particularly common in preterm birth, yet a non-invasive monitoring device does not exist for detecting signs of these conditions. We are developing a low-profile non-invasive ultrasound system for addressing this gap in neonatal care technology.
Projects: P, BC, C, B, NS, N


An Intraoperative Brain-Shift Monitor
Since neurosurgery is most often performed through a very small opening in the skull, the surgeon is unable to see brain motion beyond the immediate area where work is being performed. We are developing a transcranial ultrasound imaging device that can be used continuously during image-guided neurosurgery to track brain shift.
Projects: P, NS, CS


Using the Transorbital Acoustic Window for Tracking Brain-Shift During Neurosurgery
During image-guided brain surgery, intraoperative brain shift renders pre-operative images unsuitable for guidance because the image no longer accurately represents the actual anatomical geometry. We are presently investigating intraoperative transcranial ultrasound with a passive receiver at the orbits as a method for tracking brain shift in real-time during surgery. 
Projects: P, NS, CS


Skull-based Guided Acoustic Waves Skull Mapping
In the geosciences, surface and through-transmission seismic waves are used to map the layers of the Earth’s structure. An analogous method can be used for the human head by generating ultrasound waves at the skull surface, which then behave like the p- and s-waves of seismology. We are investigating the use of these complex elastic modes to create detailed maps of the skull structure.
Projects: P, BC, C, B, NS, CS, N

High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (CNS)


Non-Thermal Methods for Transcranial Focused Ultrasound Surgery
The first generation MR-guided focused ultrasound in the brain has been clinically demonstrated. A major limitation remains the spatial treatment window due to the fact that the therapy mechanism is thermal in nature. We are exploring a number of approaches that can advance the development of non-thermal mechanisms (e.g., histotripsy, drug delivery, blood-brain barrier disruption).
Projects: P, BC, C, B, NS, CS, N


Focused Ultrasound Neuromodulation Therapy for Epilepsy
Epilepsy is one of the most common neurologic disorders affecting 3.1 million Americans and 65 million people worldwide. Very few new treatments are coming down the pipeline to address this at-risk population. We are investigating the use of transcranial low-intensity ultrasound as a neuromodulatory mechanism for controlling seizures from drug-resistant epilepsy. 
Projects: P, BC, C, B, NS, CS, N

High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (non-CNS)


Noninvasive Endodontic Therapy with Focused Ultrasound
Endodontic therapy is a procedure—a.k.a. “a root canal”—that removes microbial infection from the root canal system of a contaminated tooth. The procedure requires drilling through the tooth, physical debridement, the application of chemical disinfectants, and post-procedural reconstruction. We are exploring transdental focused ultrasound as a noninvasive alternative.
Projects: P, BC, C, B


Focused Ultrasound for the Treatment of Vascular Malformations
Currently, port wine stains (birthmarks due to abnormal hypervascularization) are treated with lasers. The limited depth of treatment for this modality is its main disadvantage and reason for post-treatment recurrence of the lesion. We are exploring the use of microbubble-mediated focused ultrasound as a way of ablating port wine stains.
Projects: P, BC, C, B