Ultrasound Research Lab

The Department of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania houses a state-of-the-art Ultrasound Research Laboratory for conducting clinical and pre-clinical research. The goals of the research laboratory are:

  1. To develop new ultrasound technologies and clinical applications.
  2. To bridge the gap between technology and clinical applications.
  3. To provide ultrasound imaging resources to other research groups within the Penn community and in other institutions.

Ultrasound Group

The laboratory consists of a core group of scientists, sonographers and technicians with expertise in ultrasound technology and computer programming. This group works with clinicians in multiple specialties, including radiologists, cardiologists and surgeons. Ultrasound Research Services, an arm of the laboratory, serves the research community. Ultrasound Research Services furnishes a state-of-the-art ultrasound scanner dedicated to research. There is a full-time sonographer and a part-time radiologist on staff to conduct clinical and pre-clinical imaging.

The research laboratory has been a valuable resource to several groups working on diverse projects. These include studies involving the measurement of angiogenesis, vascularity, tissue elasticity, contrast agents, and the effects of various physical and pharmaceutical agents on blood flow and tissue vascularity. The studies span a range of clinical areas including research on cancer, cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal disease.


A unique feature of the laboratory is its comprehensive set of software and hardware tools developed in-house for quantitative image analysis. The laboratory is equipped with electronic devices for making acoustic measurements on tissue and biological samples, including contrast agents. There are facilities for frame-by-frame computer analysis of real-time ultrasound images for analyzing data acquired at multiple sites using different scanners.

A software package developed in-house performs analysis of large sets of sonographic and Doppler images, measuring changes in flow, perfusion and grayscale. The cross-sectional boundaries of blood vessels can be measured by semi-automated analysis of ultrasound images and used to study vascular biology. These tools are of special interest to those involved in evaluating the kinetic response of drugs and pharmaceuticals. Another set of tools is being developed to characterize tumor margins, shapes and grayscale characteristics. The goal is to use these features in conjunction with neural net and log regression algorithms for computer-aided diagnosis.