Catherine’s research uses 3D gray-scale ultrasound imaging to overcome the obstacles of 2D ultrasound and strain elastography to make possible the noninvasive characterization of carotid plaque and its vulnerability. She will further develop an industrial standard 3D ultrasound image acquisition and preprocessing program to extract features of plaques guided by imaging biomarkers, and she will compare these results with those from histological or strain imaging studies. She will also collect acoustic measures of vascular cells and provide a reliable method for ultrasonic reporting of these measures in cell cultures.
The acoustic measures and 2D and 3D gray scale analyses will be combined to develop a risk model for understanding virtual carotid plaque histology and assessing for vulnerable plaque ultrasound phenotypes. The ultimate goals of this research are to characterize the arterial wall and plaque to better predict which patients may be at risk for ischemic stroke and to optimize medical treatment for individuals at risk for cerebrovascular disease.
Faculty Trainer: Carol Mitchell, Ph.D., Medical Physics & Cardiovascular Medicine