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Institution

The laboratory on Cardiovascular Imaging & Dynamics of the department of Cardiovascular Sciences has traditionally focused on the development, validation and application of new imaging methodologies that can help in obtaining more insight in the (patho)physiology of the heart and – as such – contribute to a better diagnosis and therapy of the individual cardiac patient. Historically, ultrasound imaging of the heart has taken a central role in the research projects although other imaging modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging and optical coherence tomography are part of the research program as well. The lab currently exists of 13 PhD students, 6 post-doc’s and 3 faculty members. The research lab is embedded in the Medical Imaging Research Centre of the KU Leuven that is located in the core of the university hospital. This research centre started in 2006 and brings together 80 researchers and 5 research groups (Medical Image Computing, Cardiology, Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy). Bringing together the know-how on imaging has created a constructive environment for multi-disciplinary research. Being located in the core of the clinical imaging modalities, access to imaging data and scanners is highly facilitated.


Jan D'hooge

Prof. Jan D'hooge was trained in physics (M.Sc.) and electrical engineering (Ph.D.) and is currently professor at the department of cardiovascular sciences. His main research interests are in cardiac imaging with a focus on echocardiography. In this field, he has been working on all aspects of the data chain, i.e. image formation (closely related to wave physics) and signal/image processing but also on the application of newly developed methodologies in the context of pathophysiological research and clinical decision making. In particular in the field of cardiac motion and deformation estimation, he contributed significantly and is considered one of the world experts. Overall, he published over 170 papers in international peer-reviewed journals; over 140 conference proceedings; wrote 8 book chapters and edited 1 book. Jan has been actively involved in several professional societies and in particular in the IEEE Society on Ultrasonics, Ferro-Electrics and Frequency Control by serving on its organisational organ (AdCom) as an elected member; by chairing the technical program committee of its main conference (IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium - 2014) and by acting as an associated editor of its journal (IEEE-TUFFC). Finally, he recently coordinated a FP7-funded project (DOPPLER-CIP).
 


Marcus Ingram

Marcus Ingram is a post-doctoral research associate working as the coordinator across the six work packages (WP) of the Amphora project. He graduated with a BSc Hons in Chemistry with Analytical Chemistry from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow in 2014. Following this he pursued an MSc in Petroleum Engineering from Imperial College London in 2015 before returning to the University of Strathclyde to undertake his PhD in Ultrasonic Engineering. In addition to project coordination, Marcus' role includes the design of the ultrasound read-out system alongside the ultrasound probe design and deployment.

 

 


Sjoerd Nooijens

Sjoerd Nooijens earned his master’s degree in Medical Engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology. Extracurricular activities led him to present his work as part of the Eindhoven iGEM team in Boston and later in Beijing. As part of his master’s degree he researched the acoustic behaviour of gas vesicles during his internship at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. For his master thesis Sjoerd used k-Wave to investigate the effect of speed of sound distortions in fused ultrasound images of abdominal aortic aneurysms, supervised by Dr. Ir. Richard Lopata. After his graduation, Sjoerd joined the AMPHORA project in his pursuit of a PhD at the Catholic University of Leuven, in Prof. Jan D’Hooge’s group. There he'll work on the beamforming aspects of the project (WP 5 & 6).


Tasks and Tools

The responsibilities of this team will be bi-fold in that it will be involved in management and overall project coordination as well as in a number of scientific activities:

  • Coordination: As project coordinator, the lab will initiate and coordinate the management activities.
  • Ultrasound Signal Processing and Pulse Design: In close collaboration with DoseVue NV and STADIUS, and in close consultation with Fraunhofer IBMT, the lab will develop, implement and evaluate the differential ultrasound measurement approach (WP4). The lab will share a PhD student and PostDoc with STADIUS.
  • Radiation-Resistant Ultrasound System: The lab will provide its expertise on ultrasound equipment and beamforming for the specification and design of the radiation-resistant ultrasound system of WP5.
  • Validation: The group will actively contribute to the in-vivo validation experiments of WP6. In particular, the lab will perform the ultrasound imaging as well as data processing in order to evaluate compliance between in-vitro and in-vivo UCA acoustic signature, and to assess the feasibility of the UCA-based dosimeter concept in-vivo.

Through its physical integration in the hospital, the lab has access to the latest clinical ultrasound technologies from all major vendors (GE Vingmed E9, Siemens Acuson SC2000, Philips EPIQ, Toshiba Artida). Moreover, based on research contracts with some of these vendors, enhanced access to the scanners and exported data is available. In addition, in 2010, a high-frequency ultrasound system dedicated to small animal imaging (VisualSonics Vevo2100) was acquired based on funding of the Flemish government providing access to the radiofrequency (RF) data. Finally, a 64-channel open ultrasound imaging platform (B&K, Analogics) is available for 2D imaging while recently (January ’15) a 1024-channel imaging platform (existing of 256 independent electronics channels combined with 1:4 multiplexers to control 1024 sensor elements) connecting to a 32x32 element phased array (PZT) transducer was acquired in order to develop new volumetric imaging schemes. All of the above mentioned equipment and expertise will show useful for AMPHORA.


AMPHORA aims to develop a non-invasive in-situ dosimetry system for radiation therapy with the potential of on-line dose assessment by casting ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs) into dose sensing theranostic devices.