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Surgical Enhancement: Using Electrical Bioimpedance to Improve Clinical Practice

Ryan Halter Th'06, Assistant Professor, Thayer School of Engineering

Friday, April 12, 2013, 3:30pm

Spanos Auditorium

This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series.

Newly developed sensing and imaging technologies are revolutionizing how clinicians treat a variety of diseases and medical conditions ranging from cancer to traumatic brain injury. Augmenting a clinician’s senses through use of these technologies enables them to more effectively treat patients and ultimately improve clinical outcomes. We develop these technologies in our lab with a focus on creating usable devices that have the potential to be adopted by clinical practitioners. This talk will focus on devices that we have designed to sense and image a particular novel biophysical property that provides significant contrast between benign and diseased tissue states – electrical bioimpedance. Development and design of devices that leverage these properties will be presented in the context of prostate cancer applications. An extensive assessment of the electrical properties of the prostate has demonstrated significant contrasts exceeding 100% between cancer and benign tissues. Based on these findings, a number of technologies are being developed and explored in a pre-clinical setting. The types of devices explored here also have the potential to be extended to organs and pathologies other than the prostate.

About the Speaker

Ryan Halter’s research focuses on developing medical devices and technologies to enable clinicians to better detect, diagnose, stage, treat, and monitor patients with a variety of pathologies. More narrowly, the technologies he is interested in developing take advantage of the inherent electrical property (bioimpedance) contrast between different tissue types and pathologies. His research activities include designing devices, evaluating these devices in bench-top and ex vivo settings, and deploying these technologies in human feasibility trials. Ryan received his B.S. and M.S. in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Penn State University and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering. He spent the majority of his post-doctoral training clinically immersed in the Urology Department at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He is currently a Research Assistant Professor at Thayer School.