Bioengineering grad student makes waves in MR research with a 3-D printed phantom head | 9/28/2018 | Staff
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Phantoms are not just ghostly figures of our imagination, they are also numerical or physical models that represent human characteristics and provide an inexpensive way to test electromagnetic applications. Sossena Wood, a bioengineering Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pittsburgh, has developed a realistic phantom head for magnetic resonance research in the Swanson School of Engineering.

Wood started her tenure at Pitt as an undergraduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering where she met Tamer Ibrahim, an associate professor of bioengineering. She began research in his lab, the Radiofrequency (RF) Research Facility, during her senior year and is now finishing her dissertation incorporating similar research as a graduate student in the Department of Bioengineering.

Ibrahim - Phantom - Head - Field - Technology

Ibrahim envisioned designing a 3-D printed phantom head to use with the uniquely designed ultrahigh field technology in his lab. "In the RF Research Facility, we use a whole-body 7 Tesla magnetic resonance imager (7T MRI), which is one of the strongest clinical human MRI devices in the world," said Ibrahim. 7T ultrahigh field technology is a powerful tool, but unfortunately, there are a few setbacks that come with this type of imaging.

"As you move from lower to higher fields, the images produced become less uniform and localized heating becomes more prevalent," explained Ibrahim. "We wanted to develop an anthropomorphic phantom head to help us better understand these issues by providing a safer way to test the imaging. We use the device to analyze, evaluate, and calibrate the MRI systems and instrumentation before testing new protocols on human subjects."

Researchers - Simulations - Effect - EM - Fields

Researchers are currently using numerical simulations to study the effect of electromagnetic (EM) fields on biological tissues at varying frequencies. Wood said, "EM numerical modeling has been a standard when analyzing these interactions, and we wanted to create a phantom that resembled the human form for use...
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