The activities of this area cover a broad spectrum of problems: from the analysis and modeling of physiologic systems in health and disease (cardiovascular, respiratory, orthopedic, neurological, vision, etc.); to the development of new devices and improved bioinstrumentation for controlling and monitoring biological processes; to the development and use of sophisticated imaging modalities to probe biological structure and function. Considerable expertise in these areas already exists at Rutgers especially in the cardiovascular, neurological and orthopaedic areas, and much of the clinical infrastructure necessary to support imaging research is already in place in Radiology, including state-of-the-art PET/CT, MRI, CT, and ultrasound scanners. In the area of medical devices and biosensors, undergoing projects are on noninvasive monitoring, wearable sensors, and new algorithms for real-time signal processing. In the broad field of minimally invasive therapy, investigators are applying a man-machine systems approach and intelligent interface techniques to generate new technologies to improve surgeon-patient interaction, including miniaturization of tools, ergonomic steerable devices with tactile and visual feedback, 3-D roadmaps for navigation, and robotic drills for orthopedic and other types of surgery.
Both advanced optical imaging and molecular imaging are also key areas for expansion. Molecular imaging is a research area aimed at extending existing or novel methods to image specific molecular pathways in vivo, particularly those that are key targets in disease processes. Unlike anatomical imaging, molecular imaging displays biochemical and physiological abnormalities underlying disease, rather than the structural consequences of these abnormalities. In addition, advanced 3-D modeling and rendering is being used for reconstructive surgery and minimally invasive treatment planning. Image fusion techniques with molecular imaging provide not only information about a patient’s organ geometry, but also about material properties, biochemical processes and function of the organ and tissue. Finally, superfast imaging techniques will be explored with multi-slice CT as an example, which has reduced the time to obtain 3-D reconstructions of the body images at unprecedented resolution (<0.4 mm) in less than 30 sec.
Faculty in this area are: 1) developing optical imaging systems for diagnosis and management of disease, 2) designing and integrating image acquisition and analysis software in various clinical applications, 3) developing computational medical image analysis methods for identification and extraction important information from medical image data, 4) developing minimally invasive optical imaging technologies for tracking signaling pathways and analyzing the function of genes within living cells, and 5) developing and integrating computer assisted image guidance systems for surgery and therapy applications.