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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K020250/1
Title: Ultrasound in a Needle: Minimally-invasive High Resolution Imaging for Neurosurgery
Principal Investigator: Cochran, Professor S
Other Investigators:
Desmulliez, Professor M Button, Professor TW
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Applied Functional Materials Limited Merlin Circuits
Department: Imaging and Technology
Organisation: University of Dundee
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 July 2013 Ends: 30 June 2015 Value (£): 725,791
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip. Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
Medical Imaging
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Nov 2012 EPSRC Engineering Research Challenges in Healthcare Call Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The research challenge we will tackle is to realise real-time visualisation of tissue in the brain with a needle capable of minimally-invasive, real-time, high resolution ultrasound imaging. This will, for the first time, enable the neurosurgeon to obtain immediate information about lesions and the location of critical structures in the brain intraoperatively, and thus to provide treatment with less morbidity and better patient outcomes.

Our specific engineering challenge is to create a needle carrying an integrated, miniature ultrasound array for high-resolution (~100 um) neurological imaging and to demonstrate feasibility for future translation into clinical practice. Previous EPSRC-funded collaboration by the Universities of Birmingham and Dundee has shown that piezocomposite material with microscale features can be realised with net-shape micromoulding techniques. Single element transducers based on these materials have been evaluated already and exploratory studies with Heriot-Watt University have demonstrated the capability to bond dense interconnects onto the new materials at low temperature and pressure to connect kerfless imaging arrays to external imaging electronics.

The research we now propose will extend and integrate this technical work with neurosurgery to determine basic capabilities using brain tissue in soft-embalmed cadavers and to explore potential surgical benefits and applications. As well as the three university partners, the work will benefit from support from four companies, covering all aspects of the technology as well as its translation into clinical practice.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.dundee.ac.uk