The research mission of Shigao Chen, Ph.D., is to provide novel ultrasound solutions to meet critical clinical needs. His research program is mainly focused on developing next-generation ultrasound imaging technologies for the quantitative evaluation of various diseases with high accuracy. Special emphasis is given to translational research that brings innovation from bench to bedside to improve patient care.
The Comb-push Ultrasound Shear Elastography (CUSE) developed by Dr. Chen and colleagues has been licensed by leading ultrasound companies, implemented on clinical ultrasound scanners, and widely used around the world to benefit patient care.
His super-resolution microvessel imaging technology and liver steatosis quantification solution are licensed by several additional companies for technology transfer to impact clinical practice. Dr. Chen has 38 issued patents and many pending patent applications around the world. His research has been continuously supported since 2009 by competitive grants from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and Department of Defense.
- Shear wave elastography. The CUSE technology uses multiple push beams spaced out like a comb to produce shear waves for high signal-to-noise ratio and fast 2-D shear wave imaging. Mechanical vibration is used in another technology to generate shear waves deep within the body for noninvasive liver fibrosis staging with deep penetration.
- Microvessel imaging. High frame rate ultrasound combined with novel processing algorithms are used to image microvessels that are less than 50 microns in size. These technologies have a wide range of medical applications in the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of cancers and inflammatory diseases, as well as functional imaging of the brain and spinal cord.
- Liver steatosis quantification. Ultrasound Attenuation Coefficient (UAC) is an emerging biomarker for staging of liver steatosis, a condition affecting billions of people worldwide. Dr. Chen's UAC solution operates in harmonic imaging mode to minimize reverberation interference from the body wall and shows outstanding accuracy in several clinical studies.
- Therapeutic ultrasound. The interaction of ultrasound with cells and micro- or nanoparticles can be leveraged for augmented therapy and targeted or localized drug release to reduce systematic side effects.
Significance to patient care
Ultrasound is safe (i.e., it has no ionizing radiation), cost-effective and widely accessible. Therefore, ultrasound solutions with validated efficacy provide opportunities to improve patient outcomes.
- Board of Governors, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM), 2020-2023
- Chair, Technical Standards Committee, AIUM, 2018-2020
- Chair, Elastography Community, AIUM, 2018-2020
- Fellow, National Academy of Inventors, 2021-present
- Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, 2021-present
- Fellow, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, 2015-present