Honors and Awards
-- Oct. 2017, National BMES Career Development Award ( link).
-- Nov. 2016, UF College of Engineering Outstanding International Student award ( link).
-- Dec. 2015, GE Industrial Remix Challenge award winner ( link).
1. MS Thesis: characterizing patterns of myocardial mechanical disfunction in women treated with radiation to the chest wall for breast cancer.
Background and Significance
Radiotherapy (RT) is a critical component of breast cancer management, yielding a substantial survival benefit. However, even with advanced technology for treating the tumor effectively, organs that are in close proximity to the breast, such as the heart, are highly prone to radiation exposure. Each 1 Gy heart dose increases risk of heart events by 7%. Compared with conventional photon (X-ray) therapy, proton therapy (PT) has shown improved target coverage and reduction of exposure of doses to organs at risk. By minimizing the radiation exposure to the heart PT is hypothesized to reduce cardiac toxicity but this effect has not been quantified in human subjects.
Because cardiac injury is a late effect of radiation, early markers could be used to identify new techniques that would improve the therapeutic ratio of treatment within years rather than decades.
We are acquiring cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) images in 12 patients with left-sided breast cancer undergoing breast or chest-wall photon or proton therapy.
Our specific aims are to:
i. Measure circumferential mechanical strain (percent muscle shortening) in myocardial sub-regions throughout the heart using MR cardiac tagging.
ii. Measure left ventricle volume, ejection fraction, and perfusion using late gadolinium enhancement
i. We have employed Myocardial Tagging technique to track the motion of LV heart wall.
ii. We have segmented the LV of the heart from the above images using Active Contouring technique.
iii. We have computed surface meshes and extracted those from the segmented images using mathematical transformations.
iv. We have also computed strain maps to investigate the wall thickening between Pre-Radiation and Post- Radiation images. This has been done successfully for 2 patients each with an 8 month follow up scan.
i. We will be validating our results for strain computations using phantom heart with known tags and fitting parameters.
ii. The 6 month datasets will be registered to the CT dataset used for treatment planning to facilitate pixel-wise assessment of dose versus strain and other cardiac parameters.
iii. We will compare differences in CMR parameters from the 6 month time point to baseline data via a paired t-test.
2. PhD Thesis: Modeling radiobiological correlations with lung radiation toxicity in breast cancer patients treated with either conventional X-ray versus proton radiation therapy.