Ultrasound research in IMSaT covers diagnostic and therapeutic medical systems, as well as the use of ultrasound as a source of energy for characterisation and manipulation of cells in life sciences.
The core of Ultrasound in IMSaT is the capability to design, fabricate and test ultrasonic transducers. This is realised in five current graduate student projects: on devices for cell and particle manipulation with ultrasound; on devices for imaging pathology in vivo; on materials and devices for focused ultrasound surgery (FUS) for breast cancer; on ultrasonically-actuated medical tools; on devices and systems for ultrasonic biomicroscopy; and on design tools and array devices for commercial applications. These projects are augmented by others on novel device fabrication technologies, electronics to integrate with devices, optimised imaging device configurations for ultrasound-guided regional anaesthesia, and phantoms andother objects for pre-clinical device testing and demonstration. The team is also active in FUS-mediated drug delivery and characterisation of Thiel cadavers.
Facilities and Infrastructure
IMSaT now houses the UK's only laboratory specialising in devices for ultrasound in medicine and life sciences. This has been achieved through a combination of computer modelling and simulation software (PZ Flex finite element analysis, bespoke one-dimensional modelling code, Field II ultrasound field simulation), fabrication equipment (dicing saws, lapping / polishing machines, polymer handling facilities, poling equipment), and test equipment(electrical impedance analyser, pulser-receivers, signal generators / power amplifiers, various mechanical scanning systems). As with many activities in IMSaT, ultrasound research now involves work with cultured cells, bulk ex vivo tissue, phantoms, and cadavers preserved with the Thiel method. Access to ex vivo samples in clinical trials is also possible in collaboration with clinicians in Ninewells Hospital.
Organisation and Management
The Ultrasound team is led by Prof. Sandy Cochran, with Prof. Geo Corner, Head of Instrumentation, Ninewells Hospital, and Dr Zhihong Huang, Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering, Physics and Maths. There are presently two research staff and more than ten graduate students, as well as other students and interns. Ultrasound laboratories exist in IMSaT itself (device fabrication and basic testing), Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital (phantoms and imaging systems), and Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering, Physics and Maths (ultrasonic tools and diagnostics). The wide range of funded internal and external collaborations is managed through a weekly meeting at which the grad students present their work, a monthly seminar/ administrative meeting, various individual project meetings according to project specifications and timetables, and ad hoc research supervision by wandering around.
The core of research in Ultrasound in IMSaT is in ultrasound devices but this provides a foundation for broader research activity, in keeping with IMSaT's aim to act as a hub for multidisciplinary research. Thus, the ultrasound team has a wide range of contacts up to international level, with the target to contribute as much as possible to the development of ultrasound as a technical and clinical topic of worldwide academic and commercial interest.
Mr Yang Kuang
Mr Sinan Li