Researching Ultrasound

Leela Goel is a first-year graduate research assistant in Biomedical Engineering. She works in the Gallippi Lab, where her current research focuses on mathematically characterizing mechanical anisotropy using acoustic radiation force impulse, ARFI, imaging methods. Many tissues, such as muscle, kidney, and breast, are anisotropic, meaning that their mechanical properties have a directional dependence. ARFI based imaging techniques allow Leela to characterize and study how biological tissues and organs change with disease. In order to study the anisotropy of tissues using ultrasound, Leela needed to easily change the orientation of her ultrasound probe relative to the tissue she is studying.

First, Leela ordered a rotation stage to facilitate taking the measurements she needed. However, she very quickly discovered that she also needed a holder, on which to mount the ultrasound probe onto the rotation stage. Additionally, the lab uses several ultrasound probes, each slightly different in shape from each other.

Leela's initial prototypes for a probe-holder were made utilizing the Kenan Science Library's maker space, where she used the CAD software to design some holders and had the staff help her print the designs. While the early ultrasound holders were sufficient for Leela's initial studies, they were not durable enough to do longer, more complex experiments.

Leela then consulted with Charlie Cummings at the BeAM maker space at Murray Hall. Her goal was to design a more durable ultrasound holder that could be customized for each ultrasound probe, and reduce errors in her measurements. With Charlie's help, Leela was able to design a much sleeker probe holder, which was much less error prone than her original design. Charlie also taught her how to use the Fusion 360 software, in order to be able to collaborate on different CAD designs.

Leela feels strongly that without the resources and expertise of the BeAM staff and facilities, she would not have been able to integrate her ultrasound holders as effectively into her research. She is continuing her work, and will be back at BeAM as her experiments progress and develop new needs.