Leveraging Mechanical and Thermal Focused Ultrasound Energy Regimes for Biomedical Applications

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

11am - 12:15pm

1000 Torgersen – Virginia Tech Campus

Dr. Richard J. Price

Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology and Medical Imaging

University of Virginia


Concentrating ultrasound into an exceptionally small focus (i.e. focused ultrasound) permits the precisely targeted deposition of energy deep into soft tissues. By tuning the ultrasound application parameters, the resultant energy deposition may range from an almost purely thermal regime to an almost purely mechanical cavitation regime. In this talk, I will highlight projects from our group that harness these different energy regimes for the pre-clinical development of image-guided therapies. Thermal focused ultrasound applications include interrogating how solid tumors respond immunologically to tissue ablation, with the ultimate goal being to identify immunotherapies that will optimally cooperate with ablation. In contrast, mechanical focused ultrasound applications are centered on changing the physical barrier properties of blood vessels and tissues to permit image-guided drug and gene delivery. Specifically, I will discuss how mechanical focused ultrasound may be used to facilitate both gene delivery to the brain for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and chemotherapeutic nanoparticle delivery to primary brain tumors.


Richard J. Price, PhD, is Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology & Medical Imaging at the University of Virginia. He is also Research Director of the UVa Focused Ultrasound Center and Director of the UVA Beckman Scholars Program. His research centers on the use of image-guided focused ultrasound for nanoparticle delivery to the brain and for augmenting cancer immunotherapy. Dr. Price has recently received the Andrew J. Lockhart Memorial Award for Focused Ultrasound Cancer Research and the Jorge Heller Award for Outstanding Original Research Paper in the Journal of Controlled Release. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.