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Medical Engineering Distinguished Seminar Series, Professor Hong Chen

Thursday, April 25, 2024
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Moore B270
Neurosonics: A new frontier for noninvasive brain interventions with ultrasound
Professor Hong Chen, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurosurgery, Washington University in St. Louis,

For decades, our way of brain interventions often requires surgical procedures to expose the brain or inert implants to the brain. Ultrasound technology offers a revolutionary alternative. Ultrasound can penetrate the intact scalp and skull and focus ultrasound energy to precisely target specific brain areas. Neurosonics integrates advances in ultrasonic biophysics and engineering to develop noninvasive and precise ultrasound technology for transforming the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and advancing our understanding of brain function. Dr. Che will introduce this exciting new frontier for noninvasive brain interventions and highlight her team's contributions. She will delve into "sonobiopsy", a technique that noninvasively opens the blood-brain barrier, allowing for the release of critical biomarkers like DNA, RNA, and proteins from the brain into the bloodstream for the diagnosis of brain diseases through blood tests. Furthermore, Dr. Chen's team has harnessed ultrasound to enhance the brain's glymphatic transport, opening new avenues for drug and gene delivery to the brain for the treatment of neurological diseases. Additionally, Dr. Chen will present her team's work on inducing a hibernation-like state in rodents through ultrasound stimulation targeting the hypothalamus preoptic area. This technique showcases the capacity of ultrasound to induce states of hypothermia and hypometabolism, marking a substantial advancement toward achieving artificial hibernation. In summary, this presentation will highlight the potential and versatility of ultrasound technology in transforming the diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases and advancing our understanding of brain function.

Biography. Dr. Hong Chen is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurosurgery at Washington University in St. Louis. She received her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Washington in 2011. She joined Columbia University's Department of Biomedical Engineering as a postdoctoral research scientist from 2012 to 2015. Since joining Washington University in St. Louis in 2015, her research has been focusing on harnessing the power of ultrasound for non-invasive diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases and understanding brain functions. Her work has garnered support from multiple funding agencies such as the NIH BRAIN Initiative, NIBIB, NIA, NINS, NIMH, NCI, NSF, and the Department of Defense. Her work has drawn the attention of global media outlets such as the New York Times, the Guardian, and Scientific American. A leader in the ultrasound field, Dr. Chen holds positions on multiple boards and committees. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the International Society of Therapeutic Ultrasound, serves on the IEEE International Ultrasonics technical committee, and contributes to the Acoustical Society of America's Biomedical Ultrasound technical committee. She was named a senior member of the National Academic of Inventors.

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