Seminar Details

Ultrasound Tomography for Breast Cancer Detection: A Convergence of Physics, Mathematics and Venture Capital for Societal Benefit

Neb Duric, Wayne State University
Thursday, January 31, 4:10 PM - Physics and Astronomy Colloquium
Biomedical & Physical Sciences Bldg., Rm. 1415

Evidence-based medicine has its origins in the biological sciences. Over the last several decades, the physical sciences have begun to play a role, particularly in the areas of diagnostic imaging and radiation treatment. Recently, even applied sciences have become an integral part of the mix, hence the rise of biomedical engineering. The goal of most medical research centers is to transform laboratory research into clinical applications. Such translational research is now the main focus of research oriented cancer centers and represents the currently best known path for maximizing the impact of research on clinical practice. As scientific research strives to have tangible societal benefit, the roles of translational research and commercialization have become increasingly intertwined and important over time. In this presentation I will describe my own experiences in this area by discussing a breast cancer detection project that evolved from the back of an envelope to a clinical/commercial product. I will discuss the translational research trajectory of the project, including the funding challenges that stood in the way. The importance of multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary research will be stressed, including the roles played by multiple branches of physics and mathematics in defining ultrasound tomography, the imaging method by which breast cancer can be detected without radiation or even sensor contact. Finally, I will detail the important step of technology transfer in our journey. The role of intellectual property protection, formation of a start-up company and investment from the private equity community will round out the discussion.