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KU Leuven-Kulak is a daughter branch of the main university of KU Leuven located in Kortrijk, the western part of Belgium. Kulak offers high quality Bachelor education in social sciences, exact and engineering science, and biomedical sciences (no masters) and interdisciplinary research facilities. Currently, the Physics team at Kulak consists of 2 full-time staff members, 4 post-Docs and 7 PhD students.

Koen Van Den Abeele

Prof. dr. K. Van Den Abeele obtained a PhD in Physics at KU Leuven in 1992. After his doctoral degree in 1992, and Post-Doc Research appointments in several institutes (among which the National Center for Physical Acoustics, University of Mississippi, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA) he was appointed as Research Professor at the KU Leuven Campus Kortrijk (Kulak), Belgium in 2000. Currently, he is Professor (Hoogleraar) at Kulak and chairman of the group of Science and Technology at Kortrijk. On the research level, he is leading the Physics group, and is the head of the Wave Propagation and Signal Processing Research Team, supervising 4 doctoral students, and 1 Post-doc. Prof. K. Van Den Abeele has been promotor or co-promotor of several multipartner initiatives involving partners of different countries, among which EU-FP5 -FP6 and FP7 projects (NATEMIS, DIAS, AERONEWS, SARISTU, ALMASA, STIRSCAN, NATEP).

Sophie Heymans

Sophie Heymans obtained the M.Sc. degree in Electromechanical Engineering from Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, in 2014. She then graduated from Imperial College London, UK, in 2015, with a M. Sc. in Biomedical Engineering within the Medical Physics stream. As part of her master thesis project, she joined the Noninvasive Surgery and Biopsy Laboratory, led by Dr. James Choi, and developed an ultrasonic system featuring a single-element transducer for simultaneous ultrasound therapy and microbubble-seeded cavitation monitoring. She worked from 2015 to 2017 in Ion Beam Applications (IBA) as R&D Requirements and Systems Engineer, then as R&D physicist. IBA is a Belgian company which designs, develops, sells and installs proton therapy treatment centers. In January 2018, she joined the AMPHORA project and is currently pursuing a PhD in the Wave Propagation and Signal Processing group at KU Leuven Campus KULAK.

Research team of Wave Propagation and Signal Processing

The Laboratory of Non-Linear Wave Spectroscopy within the Wave Propagation and Signal Processing Research Team at Kulak has extensive expertise regarding theoretical modelling and experimental verification of linear and nonlinear wave propagation phenomena in solid media, and their applications to non-destructive evaluation (NDE), damage detection, and quality control in industrial materials. More recently, a new line of research has started focusing on linear and nonlinear acoustic phenomena in liquids and tissues. The relevance of this expertise for AMPHORA is obvious when considering the highly non-linear acoustic behaviour of UCAs and the importance of appropriate understanding and modelling of this behaviour towards the success of AMPHORA. Moreover, by means of the master thesis of Erik Verboven, and the PhD projects of Erik Verboven and Maarten Callens, the Laboratory of Non-Linear Wave Spectroscopy has been actively involved in the past in the initial exploration of the UCA-based dosimeter technology.

Tasks and Tools

In close collaboration with Erasmus Rotterdam, Kulak will be mainly responsible for the tasks and subtasks outlined in WP3 (Acoustic UCA Characterization & Modeling) dealing with the fundamental investigation of the interaction between ultrasound and UCA populations, including its dependency on radiation dose and measurement conditions. In particular, Kulak will develop measurement setups and perform ultrasound through-transmission as well as reflection measurements of UCA populations. These data will be complemented with measurements regarding functional UCA behavior in acoustic fields to construct and evaluate, in collaboration with Erasmus Rotterdam, physical/mathematical models relating the acoustic response of UCA populations to radiation exposure and measurement conditions.

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.