Biomedical Imaging; Cardiovascular Disease; Diagnostic Radiology; Image Processing and Analysis; Imaging Informatics; Neurosurgery; Radiological Physics; Vascular and Interventional Radiology; Vision science
I am an Assistant Professor with a dual appointment in the Biomedical Engineering Department and Neurosurgery. I am the director of the Endovascular Devices and Imaging lab at Canon (former Toshiba) Stroke and Vascular Research Center. My research career focuses on improvement of endovascular image guided interventions and encompasses three major components: medical imaging, computer programming and endovascular device development.
The greatest breakthrough of my team in the last three years is the development of complex 3D printed (3DP) vascular patient specific phantoms based on 3D imaging. Using my previous experience in developing CT reconstruction algorithms and 3D data analysis, this step came naturally. We are using these phantoms to test devices and validate software such as CT-FRR, parametric imaging and material decomposition using spectral CT. The 3DP phantoms we develop are probably some of the most complex reported in literature. We created new tools for 3D mesh manipulation and workflow to build complex vascular trees, which maintain vessel down to 400 microns diameter. My team collaborates directly with 3D printing industry and engineers in academy, to optimize the 3DP materials and match tissue mechanical properties. As center of excellence for 3D printing, we contribute to identification of new clinical applications for the 3DP technology, 3DP material development, and testing, and software development.
One of the challenges my team is tackling, is the 3D printing material and 3D design optimization to build structures with controlled mechanical properties. In the last two years, my research focused on how to use the 3D printing technology to create digital structures which can simulate mechanical properties of vascular tissue, vascular networks and arterial disease. My effort is directed toward developing methods to warp 3D structures and embed them within the arterial wall. The embedded structures could be printed with different materials to different mechanical properties. This approach will allow optimization of phantom physical properties which match those of the arteries. Thus, by combining the 3D design with the new polymers used for the 3D printing while maintaining the patient specific geometry, I plan to develop a vascular model which will behave and react identical as a human vessel, both healthy and diseased.
On a secondary effort on 3DP, my team is involved in developing implantable devices; we are collaborating with metal printing industries in testing methods to develop 3DP patient specific devices. We are able to reproduce coronary stents, which match the physical size/geometry of those used in current practice. However, mechanical and corrosion aspects need more investigations. In this context, I believe that additive manufacturing can be another path towards personalized medicine, by allowing manufacturing of patient specific devices rather than one size fits all kind of approach used by current device manufacturers.
Concerning my involvement in the scientific community, in the last two years, I became deeply involved with the effort to implement the new advances of 3D printing into a clinical setting. I have given presentations and symposiums at conferences such as RSNA where I emphasized the new additive manufacturing advances and the close relation with the 3D medical imaging. The new digital material technologies, the improved resolution and fast building time make this technology practical for the high pace workflow in the hospitals. As of now I am involved with Special Interest Group from RSNA for standardization of 3DP printing operations in hospitals and development of a DICOM standard associated with the workflow and manufacturing of 3D printed medical objects.