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Suspicious Mammograms: Taking the Guesswork Out of Elastographic Ultrasounds

Jingfeng Jiang uses a graphics processing unit (GPU) to perform advanced processing of raw ultrasound data
Jingfeng Jiang uses a graphics processing unit (GPU) to perform advanced processing of raw ultrasound data, to help radiologists better evaluate suspicious mammograms.

Jingfeng Jiang is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $450,187 research and development grant from the National Institutes of Health, “Elastography-Based Analytics for Benign and Malignant Breast Disease.”

Jingfeng Jiang
Assoc. Professor Jingfeng Jiang, Michigan Tech

Ultrasound elastography is used to pinpoint possible tumors and differentiate malignant, cancerous growths from benign lesions throughout the body, including in the breast. “Cancer tissues are stiff, and aggressively change their surroundings,” says Jiang, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Michigan Tech.

“Ultrasound elastography uses imaging to measure the stiffness of tissue. Depending on who does the reading, the accuracy can vary from 95 percent to 40 percent,” Jiang says. “Forty percent is very bad—you get 50 percent when you toss a coin. In part, the problem is that ultrasound elastography is a relatively new modality.”

Ultrasound elastography could be an excellent screening tool for women who have suspicious mammograms, but only if the results are properly interpreted. Jiang’s research team, along with Zhengfu Xu, assistant professor of mathematical sciences, will use their graphics processing unit (GPU) to perform advanced processing of raw ultrasound data so physicians can use that information in their clinical workflow. “Mainly, radiologists will use our software together with ultrasound elastography and ultrasound for diagnosis,” says Jiang. “Our goal is to greatly reduce the guesswork.”



Kenneth L. Stevenson Biomedical Engineering Fellowship Program

Kenneth L. Stevenson Biomedical Engineering Fellowship Program

The Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Technological University is now accepting applications for the Kenneth L. Stevenson Biomedical Engineering Summer Research Fellowship Program. The primary goal of the program is to provide deserving undergraduate and beginning graduate students the opportunity to participate in meaningful Biomedical Engineering research at Michigan Technological University. Specifically:

a)      Undergraduate students (2 awards): Undergraduates will receive undergraduate-to-graduate transitional research fellowships of $4000 each. Students entering their junior and senior years will be considered. The award is intended to introduce students to the rigors associated with graduate level research in Biomedical Engineering.

b)      Graduate students (2 awards): Students who have completed an undergraduate degree prior to the fellowship period and are beginning studies in Michigan Technological University’s Biomedical Engineering graduate program (PhD or MS) will receive fellowships of $5000 each in support of intensive summer research. These awards will allow students to establish their research in the initial phase of their graduate studies.

The application process is now open!  Program requests for applications will be announced in Tech Today beginning in mid-March, with applications for these annual awards due March 31, 2014 by noon (EST). Fellowship recipients will conduct a research project under the guidance of a Michigan Tech Department of Biomedical Engineering faculty mentor, during the summer semester. Fellowship recipients will be required to:

  • Submit a final progress report of their work and/or evidence clearly showing the work has contributed significantly to a work being prepared for peer-reviewed publication.
  • Present their research in poster or oral form, preferably at a nationally recognized research meeting or the University BRC research forum, or the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Research Forum.

Application process:

Each applicant should submit the following (Incomplete applications at the deadline will not be considered):

  1. Application Coversheet (pick up in Biomed main office MM309, or email malabeau@mtu for a copy)
  2. Project Description (2-page limit, 12-pt font- Arial, ¾-inch margins)
  3. Faculty mentor letter of support
  1. Application Coversheet. Completed coversheet should be included with each application.
  1. Project Description. Project description should be prepared with (not by) a faculty mentor, and at a minimum address the following regarding the proposed project:
    1. Motivation and Significance
    2. Specific objectives, hypotheses, and aims
    3. Brief description of the work that will be done to specifically address aims
    4. Time-line for work to be completed

The Project Description is limited to 2 pages (12-pt font, Arial, ¾-inch margins minimum) and is to be submitted as a PDF file. You may include graphs, images and tables as needed. A separate page may be used for references as needed. All references however must be cited in the text of the project description.

  1. Faculty mentor Letter of support. Letters of support should at the minimum address the following:
    1. How long have you known the student and in what capacity?
    2. Why do you think the student is likely to succeed in the project?
    3. Where does the student’s project fit into your overall research program?

To submit application, email a PDF file that includes both the Application Coversheet and Project Description to Judy Schaefer (jlschaef@mtu.edu). Ask your faculty mentor to email the letter of support to the same address.