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Research Fellows Directory

Sandy Cochran

Professor Sandy Cochran

Research Fellow


University of Dundee

Research summary

My current research looks at medical ultrasound in two different ways. Ultrasound is most commonly known as a technique to create images of the unborn child during pregnancy. For this purpose, it is important that it is safe, the equipment is inexpensive and small enough to be used in the clinic, and the image quality is fit for purpose. Ultrasound imaging also has many other uses, e.g. for imaging breast cancer and other tumours. However, it would be helpful for clinicians if it could image finer detail, in a process called microultrasound. The problem with microultrasound is that the devices that generate and detect the ultrasound must be very small and positioned close to the features to be imaged. My research is therefore looking at ways to engineer such tiny devices, often using techniques developed for mobile phones and tablets, and to deliver them into the body, either in surgical needles or in pills. Once the site of disease has been identified, it may need treatment. This can be done in conventional ways but I am also looking at how ultrasound can be used to treat disease. If its intensity is increased enough then it can heat tissue to a temperature at which the cells are killed. This is called ablation. Another approach, which is more difficult but may be better in the long term, is to use ultrasound as a medium to deliver drugs preferentially to the site of the disease, in a process called ultrasound-mediated targeted drug delivery.

Grants awarded

Medical micro-ultrasound: minimally invasive high resolution imaging and therapy

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Dates: Oct 2014 - Sep 2019

Value: £50,000

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