Medical Component Design Laboratory (MCDL)
We are interested in developing devices and systems capable of controlled energy delivery for targeted thermal therapy of cancer and benign disease. Energy sources of interest include RF currents, microwaves, and ultrasound. Intense heat may be used to ablate (i.e. destroy) tissue e.g. for minimally invasive treatment of tumors or cardiac arrhythmias. Moderate heat may be used to trigger drug release from nanoparticles or to augment radio/chemotherapy. Some examples of research areas include:
- Device development and evaluation We design and build systems (energy sources, applicators consisting of antennas/electrodes/transducers, feedback control algorithms) for targeted energy delivery to the body. Our goal is to design devices capable of adequately heating targeted tissue with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. We fabricate prototypes and evaluate them on the electrical lab bench and in appropriate tissue models.
- Computer modeling We develop computer models of energy propagation through tissue and bioheat transfer to design devices and control algorithms for specific applications. We perform experiments to validate computer models and measure physical properties of tissue.
- Optimizing treatment delivery on patient-specific anatomies Treatment plans employ computer models and optimization techniques to determine suitable device insertion paths and positions, optimal energy levels, and heating patterns. We are interested in techniques for rapid computation and 3D visualization of treatment plans to aid physicians in customizing therapy of patient-specific anatomies.
- Thermally triggered targeted drug delivery We are interested in designing methods and systems for targeted heating with nanoparticles, which preferentially migrate into tumors and may be used to deliver therapeutic drugs via a thermal trigger.
We are also interested in applying these techniques to the design of other therapeutic medical devices.
- Network-based modeling for epidemics. These projects are concerned with the study and implementation of mathematical models of epidemic spreading in a realistic environment with individual-based models and meta-population models. Work on models for specific contagious diseases such as foot and mouth disease and Rift Valley fever are in progress.
- Agent-based epidemiological simulator for rural communities. The aim of this project is to design agent-based simulation software for a set of representative infectious diseases in a rural community to detect the conditions under which an epidemic would spread or die out, as well as to determine the direction and speed if it spreads. These results will be used to derive and analyze optimized policies and guidelines for containment and prevention of infectious diseases.
- Modeling of interconnections among human behavior and epidemic spreading. Human behaviors play a crucial role in how an epidemic spreads in a social society. Despite extensive studies on how human beings percept a disease and the behavior they show in response, not many results have been reported on how human behavior would actually affect the epidemic spread. The goal in this study is to provide interconnected models for epidemic spread and individual behaviors, followed by simulation and analysis of the models.
- Network partitioning for mitigation of epidemics. One of the considered mitigation strategies to control and reduce epidemic spreading is quarantine. When contacts are represented by a network, quarantine can be determined using network partitioning algorithms. We are developing network partitioning algorithms, designed to be a simple, efficient method to partition a network into possible quarantine sections. Our algorithm, called Bloom, grows partitions and then allows the individuals to decide which partition they feel most comfortable in. We have implemented the first algorithm and done some initial testing on classical clustering graphs.