Muyinatu Lediju Bell: Photoacoustic imaging for improved surgical tools

The PULSE lab integrates optics, acoustics, and robotics to design innovative biomedical imaging systems.

16 January 2017

The Photoacoustic and Ultrasonic Systems Engineering (PULSE) Lab at Johns Hopkins University is working on combining photoacoustic imaging with existing surgical tools to enable safer surgeries. Led by Muyinatu Lediju Bell, the group is developing light delivery systems for a variety of applications, targeting problems where more accurate imaging would provide better health outcomes.

An Early Career Professional Member of SPIE, Dr. Bell is an assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering with a joint appointment in the Biomedical Engineering Department. Dr. Bell earned her PhD from Duke University and her undergrad from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to joining the faculty, Dr. Bell was a postdoctoral fellow with the Engineering Research Center for Computer-Integrated Surgical Systems and Technology at Johns Hopkins University. She was named to the 2016 MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35, an impressive list of inventors, entrepreneurs, visionaries, humanitarians, and pioneers who are changing the world - all of whom are under the age of 35. She has published several conference proceedings and journal papers with SPIE, and is an author of three papers to be presented in January at SPIE Photonics West.

SPIE recently visited the PULSE Lab to see firsthand some of the innovations Dr. Bell will be presenting at Photonics West. Bell was eager to show off their adaption to a surgical drill used in pituitary gland removal that would help the surgeon identify blood vessels while in surgery. This would greatly improve the current technology, where surgeons rely on previously taken images rather than the real-time images her technology would provide. Based on photoacoustic imaging, the tool adds optical fibers and a 3D printed tooltip to existing drills, enabling better imaging and outcomes without changing the techniques or tools used in the current procedure. "Optimizing light delivery for a photoacoustic surgical system" will be presented 29 January from 3:00-3:15 pm.

Another exciting aspect of her lab's work is integrating their imaging modalities into robotic surgery platforms such as the Da Vinci. This work will be showcased at a Photonics West poster session on 29 January 2017.

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