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VISE Fall Seminar – Elisa Konofagou, PhD

Posted by on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 in News.

 VISE Fall Seminar
to be led by
Elisa Konofagou, PhD,
Robert and Margaret Hariri Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Radiology,
Columbia University

Date: Thursday, November 5, 2020
Time: 12:15 p.m. Room Admittance, 12:25 p.m. start
Zoom: Details will be sent morning of…

Title:  Ultrasound-based Brain Therapeutics and Cancer Elasticity Imaging

Abstract:  Therapeutic ultrasound is older than ultrasound imaging and yet has not translated to the clinic until only recently. Focused ultrasound (FUS) has been shown to be both and facilitate drug delivery through the opening of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Protein and gene delivery will be shown in the neuroprotection and neurorestoration of the nigrostriatal pathway through the combined use of FUS and AAV-GDNF in an early-stage Parkinson’s disease (PD) mouse model. Our group has demonstrated that only the striatum that received a combination of AAV-GDNF and FUS exhibited protection against a subsequent MPTP insult while the mice with already existing and stable MPTP lesions exhibited signs of both behavioral and morphological amelioration following AAV-GDNF and FUS with up to 40% restoration, especially in the neuronal terminals. A second study will also be presented for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in a mouse model expressing both amyloid and tau. In this case, FUS targets the hippocampus and both amyloid and tau are shown to be reduced with behavioral working memory also improved in the FUS-treated group only. FUS has thus the capability of overcoming certain limitations of pharmacological agents that are incapable of permeating the BBB at clinically relevant dosages; thereby opening new avenues for disease-modifying strategies in undertreated neurodegenerative disorders such as PD and AD.  FUS can also affect brain cognition, either with but also without opening the BBB and merely exerting mechanical and/or thermal effects on the brain or peripheral nerves and driving neuronal modulation. Examples of lateralized motor and sensory responses will be shown in mice and improvement in motor and cognitive performance in non-human primates (NHP) will be shown as well as pain suppression in human subjects by targeting the median nerve.  Finally, FUS is used for ablation of tumors in the clinic and in this talk, an elastographic technique developed by our group, Harmonic Motion Imaging, will be demonstrated in its capability of identifying the type, targeting and treating breast and pancreatic tumors while also monitoring and assessing the procedure before and after chemotherapy based on the change in the underlying tumor stiffness as a result of the treatment.

Biography: Elisa E. Konofagou is the Robert and Margaret Hariri Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor Radiology as well as Director of the Ultrasound and Elasticity Imaging Laboratory at Columbia University in New York City. Her main interests are in the development of novel elasticity imaging techniques and therapeutic ultrasound methods and more notably focused ultrasound in the brain for drug delivery and stimulation, myocardial elastography, electromechanical and pulse wave imaging, harmonic motion imaging with several clinical collaborations in the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and elsewhere. Elisa is an Elected Fellow of the American Institute of Biological and Medical Engineering, a member of the IEEE in Engineering in Medicine and Biology, IEEE in Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society, the Acoustical Society of America and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. She has co-authored over 230 published articles in the aforementioned fields. Prof. Konofagou is also a technical committee member of the Acoustical Society of America, the International Society of Therapeutic Ultrasound, the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology conference (EMBC), the IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM). Elisa serves as Associate Editor in the journals of IEEE Transactions in Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control, Ultrasonic Imaging and Medical Physics, and is recipient of awards such as the CAREER award by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Nagy award by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Carl Hellmuth Hertz Ultrasonics Award, and the IEEE-EMBS Technological Achievement Award  as well as additional recognitions by the American Heart Association, the Acoustical Society of America, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, the Wallace H. Coulter foundation, the Bodossaki foundation, the Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) and the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

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