Rochester, Minnesota




The stiffness of soft tissues is often related to the state of the tissue. One of the results of disease processes is to change the viscoelastic material properties of tissue. Matthew W. Urban, Ph.D., is interested in applying elasticity imaging methods in various organs to develop methods for noninvasively evaluating the state of soft tissue.

His research is targeted toward applying ultrasound-based methods to measure the viscoelasticity of the kidney in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and patients who have received kidney transplants.

Focus areas

  • Producing acoustic radiation force with ultrasound. Dr. Urban works on applications that use ultrasound to produce acoustic radiation force to push on soft tissue. One major application of this phenomenon is to generate shear waves in tissue because the speed of the shear wave is linked to the viscoelasticity of the tissue.
  • Shearwave Dispersion Ultrasound Vibrometry (SDUV). Dr. Urban is using shear wave-based technologies, one of which is SDUV, to explore the viscoelasticity of the kidney in patients with CKD and kidney transplants. This research is supported by the National Institutes of Health. He also works on applying SDUV in the heart, arteries, liver and breast to investigate how the material properties of these tissues changes with disease.
  • Vibro-acoustography. Dr. Urban works on the development of an imaging method called vibro-acoustography, which uses focused ultrasound to explore the acoustic response of soft tissue and other objects.
  • Ultrasound signal and image processing. Dr. Urban is interested in ultrasound signal and image processing, particularly directed at improving motion estimation with ultrasound and developing novel techniques to augment current ultrasound imaging applications.

Significance to patient care

Dr. Urban is applying ultrasound-based elasticity imaging to noninvasively assess the viscoelastic properties of the human kidney. One of the diagnostic steps for the evaluation of the kidney in patients with chronic kidney disease is a needle biopsy. Additionally, after patients receive a kidney transplant, periodic follow-up biopsies are performed.

One of the goals of this research is to develop a new noninvasive imaging method that could be used to avoid biopsies in healthy tissues and be used for monitoring patients over time.

Professional highlights

  • Member, Technical Committee on Biomedical Acoustics, Acoustical Society of America
  • Associate Editor, Medical Physics


Administrative Appointment

  1. Associate Consultant II-Research, Division of Ultrasonography, Department of Radiology
  2. Associate Consultant II-Research, Department of Physiology & Biomedical Engineering

Academic Rank

  1. Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering


  1. PhD Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering Track, Programs, Mayo Graduate School, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  2. Predoctoral Student Biomedical Engineering and Physiology, Programs, Mayo Graduate School, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  3. BS - Electrical Engineering Major, Spanish minor. South Dakota State University

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