High-tech X-ray imaging technique to offer detailed look at engineered tissue

December 11, 2013

Mark Anastasio, PhD, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a new imaging system that will help biomedical engineers see what happens when engineered tissue is implanted in the body.

The three-year, $275,000 grant will allow Anastasio, interim department chair and professor of biomedical engineering at Washington University School of Engineering & Applied Science, to implement and optimize a new 3-D phase contrast X-ray imaging system for evaluating and monitoring bioengineered tissues in a living body. He is collaborating with Eric Brey, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, who will contribute expertise in tissue engineering to the project.

"We have an image scientist and a tissue engineer teaming up with the goal of developing a new imaging system that facilitate the development of improved biomaterials," Anastasio says.

Specifically, Anastasio and Brey seek to use the new imaging system to monitor biomaterials in vivo and evaluate their soft tissue responses. It is generally difficult to evaluate implanted engineered tissues using conventional X-ray imaging technologies because they generate little image contrast, Anastasio says.

The new technique will build on existing imaging techniques, yet address several limitations, according to Anastasio.

"We want to acquire the image data more rapidly so we can investigate an animal model - that's the goal," Anastasio says. "Right now, imaging with this technology is a challenge. To make it faster requires the development of innovative image reconstruction methods, which is a topic on which my laboratory possesses world-class expertise."
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The School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis focuses intellectual efforts through a new convergence paradigm and builds on strengths, particularly as applied to medicine and health, energy and environment, entrepreneurship and security. With 82 tenured/tenure-track and 40 additional full-time faculty, 1,300 undergraduate students, 700 graduate students and more than 23,000 alumni, we are working to leverage our partnerships with academic and industry partners -- across disciplines and across the world -- to contribute to solving the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.

Washington University in St. Louis

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