Surgical Planning Laboratory - Brigham & Women's Hospital - Boston, Massachusetts USA - a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School

Surgical Planning Laboratory

Elisabetta Sassaroli (May 2002-July 2008)

Elisabetta received her Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1994 from Northeastern University. Before she joined the BWH radiology department, she worked and published in theoretical high-energy physics and applied optics, while teaching college physics and astronomy. She joined the Focused Ultrasound Laboratory in the fall of 2002 as a research fellow.

Her current research is in the area of ultrasound and microbubble contrast agents. In collaboration with Dr. K. Hynynen, she has been investigating through mathematical modeling and experimentation the interaction of ultrasound and microbubble contrast agents in micrometer-size tubes and micro-tunnels in gels. The aim of this work is to obtain a better understanding of the physical interaction between microbubbles and ultrasound for the optimization of techniques involving ultrasound contrast agents.

More specifically, she has been investigating mathematically the microbubble response to ultrasound in micrometer size vessels. She has found that the microbubble resonance frequency and damping coefficient are affected by the vessel size. This knowledge may provide valuable information for the development of a strategy aimed to optimize selective energy absorption and deposition in a given vessel. In addition, she has been conducting a series of experiments involving an ultrasound contrast agent in different sized silica and polyester tubes. She has shown that the threshold for bubble collapse, as recorded by broadband acoustic emission, is not only dependent on the applied pressure amplitude but also on the tube size with an increase for smaller vessels. A mathematical model was also employed to interpret and rationalize the data. These findings may have implications for both therapeutic and diagnostic techniques which involve microbubble disruption and also for the evaluation of the risk of inertial cavitation in blood vessels.

E-mail: esassaro at bwh.harvard.edu

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