Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences


Towards Clinical Translation of Optical Ultrasound

27 January 2021

On 21 January we hosted our first WEISS virtual symposium of 2021 - Towards Clinical Translation of Optical Ultrasound.

Towards clinical translation of optical ultrasound digital flier

This symposium brought together international experts to discuss various topics including: optical generation and detection of ultrasound, optical ultrasound imaging, and therapeutic use of optical ultrasound. Organised by Adrien Desjardins and Erwin Alles, the exciting programme of speakers drew a big audience of 140 attendees from 19 different countries.

Optical ultrasound is an emerging imaging modality where the transmission and detection of ultrasound are both performed using light. Recently there has been very exciting progress in this field and the technology is rapidly maturing to the point where it will make a prominent clinical impact. This symposium aimed to explore the opportunities and challenges associated with clinical translation of optical ultrasound, and to highlight some promising applications.

Session one focused on the technology behind optical generation and detection of ultrasound. Firstly, Srirang Manohar (University of Twente) gave his talk on laser-induced ultrasound for non-invasive imaging.

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This was followed by Fernando Pérez-Cota (University of Nottingham) who spoke about picosecond ultrasonics imaging and characterisation of biological cells.

Rami Shnaiderman (Technische Universität München) focused on silicon-photonics sensor array for high resolution optoacoustic imaging.

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Shai Ashkenazi’s (University of Minnesota) talk focused on waveguide fiber Fabry-Pérot ultrasound detectors.

Ivan Pelivanov (University of Washington) discussed non-contact PA molecular fingerprinting in laboratory biomedicine.

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Next, Xingwei Wang (University of Massachusetts Lowell) gave her talk titled: Validation of an Ultrasound Transducer’s Generation and Receiving Function on One Single-mode Fiber. 

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To end the first session, Nam Trung Huynh (University College London) discussed high resolution Fabry-Perot scanner for photoacoustic and optical ultrasound imaging.

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The second session focused on the applications of optical ultrasound imaging with a particular focus on in vivo and ex vivo imaging of biological tissues, and was opened by Vasilis Ntziachristos (Technische Universität München) who gave his talk: Listening to sound: optoacoustic imaging and applications.

This was followed by Jami Shepherd (University of Auckland) who discussed the development and applications of non-contact all-optical ultrasound imaging.

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Xiang (Shawn) Zhang (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) then discussed tissue laser ultrasound imaging.

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Erwin Alles’ (University College London) talk focused on Video-rate and freehand in vivo all-optical ultrasound imaging.

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To end session two, Richard Colchester (University College London) focused on minimally invasive imaging with all-optical ultrasound.

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The third session focused on examples of how optically generated ultrasound can be focused to achieve intense pressures that are high enough to achieve therapeutic benefits, and began with a talk from L. Jay Guo (University of Michigan) titled: Optical generation and detection of ultrasound and their applications. This was followed by Hyoungwon Baac (Sungkyunkwan University) who discussed laser-generated focused ultrasound and its applications.

The final talk of the symposium was given by Esra Aytac Kipergil (University College London) who spoke about laser-generated focused ultrasound transducers for minimally invasive therapeutic procedures. 

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Finally there was a discussion session focusing on the bottlenecks and outlooks of clinical translation, chaired by Callum Little (Royal Free Hospital) and Malcom Finlay (Barts Heart Centre) who both have first-hand experience with optical ultrasound.

This discussion included a poll to facilitate discussions which asked attendees to select what they perceived as the most prominent challenges for clinical translation of optical ultrasound. A majority of around 70% felt that the identification of clinical applications was one of the largest challenges, with technology refinement and clinical engagement in second and third place, scoring 48% and 40% respectively.

The feedback both from webinar attendees and speakers was very extremely positive, and there are talks of repeating a similar symposium on an annual basis.

Registration for our next virtual symposium - Optical Imaging in Healthcare: Current Challenges and Future Solutions on 17 February at 15:00 is now open! Find out more and register through Eventbrite.