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Cranbrook Senior Wins Top Award at 39th Annual Research Science Institute

Michelle Hua '23 honored in an event jointly sponsored by The Center for Excellence in Education and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

The Center for Excellence in Education (CEE) has announced the award winners for oral and written presentations chosen from 92 participants by an eminent panel of judges at the 39th annual Research Science Institute (RSI) jointly sponsored at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Each of the award winners received $1,000 scholarship awards from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
 
Cranbrook Schools senior Michelle Hua was selected as one of the top five written presentations. 
 
Hua’s project, “3D Acoustic Simulation and Optimization for Transcranial Focused Ultrasound Delivered with Stereotactic Robotics,” focused on creating a iterative search algorithm based on 3D acoustic simulations of focused ultrasound for optimal transducer placement. Below is my non-technical summary.
 
Says Michelle, “Focused ultrasound (FUS) is a noninvasive clinical device that can improve drug delivery to treat diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease since their treatment methods are inhibited by inefficient drug delivery to desired areas of the brain. FUS can open up the barrier, which would otherwise block drugs from entering target regions of the brain, by focusing ultrasonic energy on the target, thus improving the likelihood of patient survival when they develop a disease. Though advantageous in clinical settings, FUS faces the great challenge of propagating through the human skull, which reduces the intensity and distorts the ultrasound wave, causing a deviation between the focal point and target point of FUS.
 
In this paper, we develop a constrained optimization framework to search for optimal FUS transducer placement based on accurate 3D simulations of FUS. First, we present an automatic, universal framework to reconstruct acoustic and geometric properties from digital medical images for a precise representation of the human skull and an accurate 3D simulation. Then, we design and develop a novel iterative search algorithm to optimize FUS transducer placement under the geometric and simulation constraints. Our algorithm outperforms existing methods and is integrated into a surgical robot to carry out FUS treatment for improved drug delivery and ablation of cancer tumors, leading to personalized precision medicine.”
 
Congratulations to Michelle!
 
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    • Michelle Hua (center) at the 39th Annual Research Science Institute

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