Shining new lights on photoacoustic imaging. ECE’s Muyinatu Bell. SPIE

July 27, 2020

Muyinatu Bell wants to make surgery safer. An assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and director of the Photoacoustic and Ultrasonic Systems Engineering (PULSE) Lab, Bell utilizes her cross-disciplinary training to maximum effect. Her work’s potent combination of computer engineering, biomedical optics, and computer science is innovating photoacoustic imaging for better surgical tools which have a wealth of applications across surgery, cancer detection, and women’s health. These efforts have also won her a slew of recognitions including an MIT Technology Review Top 35 Innovators under 35 honor, and, in 2019, an Outstanding Young Engineer Award from the Maryland Academy of Sciences and the Maryland Science Center. Earlier this year, she was an invited Hot Topics speaker at the BiOS conference during SPIE Photonics West.

“I had a particular interest in integrating photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging systems with robotics,” says Bell who will be discussing her current research during the free SPIE.online webinar on 17 August, hosted by the Journal of Biomedical Optics. “I want to improve robotic surgery and to use robotics in new ways to enhance the type of imaging technology that we can provide. At the moment, we are developing novel signal-processing and beamforming techniques for both ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging, and we take those techniques and design novel prototypes — a specialized light-delivery system that attaches to surgical tools, for example — and we use these prototypes to improve image quality. We then integrate our innovations with commercially available ultrasound, laser, or robotic systems, creating a new system that’s the first of its kind to address a clinical challenge. We are always developing our work with the end goal of impacting patient care.”

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