This image shows the nuclei of proliferating (red) and quiescent (dark grey) human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) cultured in vitro.
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Our laboratory conducts experimental and computational research in biomedical acoustics and biomechanics of circulating cells.

Our main interest is to understand how living cells, tissues and biological polymers respond to mechanical stresses induced by acoustic waves. We investigate the interactions between acoustic waves (specifically, ultrasonic waves) and biological matter using in vitro and in vivo experimental systems. This research has several important biomedical applications, and our current focus is on development of focused ultrasound-based noninvasive or minimally invasive therapies for cancer, spinal cord injury and neurodegenerative diseases.

Using endothelium-lined microfluidic systems and state-of-the-art computational models, we also study the migration, deformation and adhesion of circulating cells under the conditions of cancer metastasis, inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

We collaborate with scientists, engineers, and clinicians from Tulane University, Boston University, UCLA and other leading research institutes and hospitals. Our projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, and American Heart Association. Highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to join the laboratory.

Lab highlights

  • Cancer ablation with HIFU and ethanol >>

    We conduct in vitro and in vivo experiments to test our novel method for minimally invasive ablation treatment of advanced and refractory tumors in the liver, thyroid, and prostate. More information about our approach can be found in our papers published in Physics in Medicine and Biology and Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (cf. Publications) and in a recent article in Tulane New Wave. In this effort, we collaborate with leading oncologists at Tulane University School of Medicine (Drs. Joseph Buell, Emad Kandil, and Benjamin Lee) and oncologists abroad.

  • Tumor spheroid culture in PDMS wells >>

    We are applying our patented "PDMS well" method to grow multicellular tumor spheroids with an effective diameter exceeding 2 mm. These large tumor spheroids are used in tumor ablation experiments and testing other therapies for cancer.

  • Cell adhesion in endothelium-lined microfluidic channels >>

    Using our endothelium-lined microfluidic channels, we investigate the role of inflammatory mediators produced by tissue resident cells on circulating cell adhesion to vascular or lymphatic endothelium during allergy, atherosclerosis, thrombosis, sickle cell disease, and breast cancer metastasis. The papers with the results of our experimental research on thrombosis, inflammation/allergy, and cancer metastasis are listed on the Publications page.

  • Modeling leukocyte and cancer cell migration and adhesion >>

    We have developed three-dimensional computational algorithm VECAM (ViscoElastic Cell Adhesion Model) that integrates, for the first time, the cell's rheological properties, stochastic receptor-ligand binding, and physiologic shear flow conditions. More information about VECAM can be found in our paper on leukocyte rolling published in Biophysical Journal. This algorithm is now extended to simulate active migration of cells and cell rolling and adhesion to a compliant substrate, as well as lateral migration of circulating cells in an inertial microfluidic device. The first results of the latter research have been published in International Journal of Multiphase Flow.