Jemma Brown is a PhD student studying Super-resolution Ultrasound Imaging with Microbubbles with Dr Robert Eckersley and Dr Meng-Xing Tang, and is based at King’s College London

This September I attended the IEEE international Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS) in Washington D.C.  There were over 1000 attendees and a total of 945 oral and poster presentations.  I spent most of my time in the streams concerned with developments in ultrasound imaging and therapy.  However, the conference was very broad and I also enjoyed gaining some insight into application of ultrasound technology outside of clinical applications. 

My project involves using microbubble contrast agent to improve the resolution of ultrasound such that the microvasculature to be visualised.  Microbubbles flow through the vessels and are strong scatterers of ultrasound.  Generating a super-resolution image involves detecting individual microbubbles and then determining their position. By superimposing these positions over time a map of the vasculature can be generated. 

Super-resolution ultrasound is a rapidly growing field.  First being presented in 2011, during this conference there was now three sessions primarily for super-resolution imaging! I was giving an oral presentation on our work on the microbubble detection step.  It was very nerve wracking as this was my first oral presentation and I knew that many of the other groups working on super-resolution were in the audience.  However, it was definitely a positive experience which allowed me to get very useful feedback and suggestions.

Being in the US, we took the opportunity to travel to New York.  As well as lots of relaxing in Central Park and bagel eating, we enjoyed a visit to the Ultrasound Elasticity Imaging Laboratory at Columbia University.  This was hugely interesting as we got to compare our work with a similar technique they are using to image the vessel changes during ultrasound therapy to deliver drugs to the brain. 

Overall this trip was a fantastic opportunity to discuss our work, learn about the newest research in the field and gather new ideas from other areas to investigate once back in the lab!