Rochester, Minnesota




The mechanical properties of tissues often change under certain disease states. Mostafa Fatemi, Ph.D., and his colleagues provide novel ultrasound-based technologies to investigate mechanical properties of biological tissues. The objectives of Dr. Fatemi's research are to develop and advance novel ultrasound modalities for disease diagnosis and to monitor patient response to treatment.

Based on the concept of acoustic radiation force, Dr. Fatemi's research has resulted in the novel imaging technique of vibro-acoustography, which was originally reported in two consecutive papers in Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Dr. Fatemi and his colleagues have developed ultrasound techniques to quantify and image linear and nonlinear elasticity and viscoelastic parameters of tissues. They are also developing new biomarkers based on a novel technique for imaging microvasculature in vivo.

Dr. Fatemi holds more than 11 issued patents and many other patent-pending invention disclosures. Dr. Fatemi's research has had ongoing support since 1998 by competitive grants from the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics, and Susan G. Komen. Dr. Fatemi upholds team science research and collaborates with scientists, clinicians and clinical investigators at Mayo Clinic and other academic institutions. He also works with industrial partners to transfer his research to clinical practice.

Focus areas

  • Imaging by vibro-acoustography. Vibro-acoustography is an acoustic imaging modality that is sensitive to mechanical properties of tissue. Tissue vibration induced by the radiation force of ultrasound generates a sound that can be recorded and mapped into a speckle-free and high-contrast image. Dr. Fatemi studies applications of vibro-acoustography for detecting abnormalities in various organs, such as breast, thyroid and prostate. This technique is also used for monitoring prostate brachytherapy. These studies have been funded by grants from NIH grants (R01s, R33, R21s, and P50) as well as Susan G. Komen.
  • Sub-hertz assessment of viscoelasticity (SAVE). Assessment of mechanical properties of tissues, such as stiffness and viscosity, at very low frequencies can help detecting diseased tissue. This information can also be used to monitor response to treatment. Dr. Fatemi investigates the dynamic deformation of tissue in response to an applied force and tissue recoil to assess and differentiate various pathologies in human breast. It is shown that information obtained at very low frequencies (< 1 hertz) is highly sensitive to breast tissue abnormalities. The aim of this study is to detect malignant masses in breast and reduce unnecessary biopsies of benign masses.
  • Assessment of bladder function by ultrasound. The bladder is a complex organ and its normal function may be affected due to aging, damage to the spinal cord and certain diseases. Dr. Fatemi is developing novel noninvasive methods for evaluating the mechanical function of the bladder. Currently, these methods are being tested on patients.
  • Imaging microvasculature. Imaging microvascular flow is of diagnostic value for a wide range of diseases, including cancer, inflammation and cardiovascular disease. These images may also be used for treatment monitoring and outcome prediction. Dr. Fatemi and his colleagues have developed a new ultrasound technique for imaging blood flow in microvasculature in the human body. This novel and noninvasive technology would have significant impact on disease diagnosis and patient care.
  • Acoustically active catheter for ultrasound-guided intramyocardial injections. The purpose of this project is to develop a novel catheter, with a tip that acts as a unique acoustic beacon, for navigation inside the beating heart. This catheter can be used for a variety of intracardiac diagnostic or therapeutic interventions, including targeted injections of investigative or therapeutic agents into the cardiac muscle from within the heart. The novel acoustic navigation principle is expected to have a broad utility in the emerging medical field of image-guided, minimally invasive interventions.

Significance to patient care

Ultrasound technology is noninvasive, affordable and widely available. The overarching objective of Dr. Fatemi's research is to improve patient outcome by providing novel ultrasound-based technologies that may be used to gain a better understanding of biological tissues, to diagnose certain diseases such as cancer, and to help monitor patients' responses to treatment.

Professional highlights

  • Recipient, Distinguished Lecturer Award for innovative research and leadership in the field of ultrasound, Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society, IEEE, 2016-2017
  • Chair of publication, Ultrasonic Group, IEEE, 2014-present
  • Fellow, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, 2012-present
  • Fellow, Acoustical Society of America, 2009-present
  • Fellow, IEEE, 2009-present
  • Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, 2007-present


Primary Appointment

  1. Consultant, Department of Physiology & Biomedical Engineering

Academic Rank

  1. Professor of Biomedical Engineering


  1. PhD - Ultrasound image formation and restoration School of Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
  2. MS - Electrical Engineering Electrical Engineering Department, Iowa State University
  3. BS - Electrical Engineering Shrif University

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