Investigating Coupled Skull-Brain Vibroacoustics and Ultrasound

The interdisciplinary research team of Professors Alper Erturk, Costas Arvanitis, Levent Degertekin, and Massimo Ruzzene has been awarded an NSF LEAP-HI (Leading Engineering for America’s Prosperity, Health, and Infrastructure) grant. NSF’s new LEAP-HI program “challenges the engineering research community to take a leadership role in addressing demanding, urgent, and consequential challenges for advancing America’s prosperity, health and infrastructure.”

The proposed research by the Georgia Tech team aims to explore the coupling of skull-brain vibroacoustics and ultrasound toward enhanced therapy and diagnosis. Dr. Erturk stated that “the team will investigate vibration and wave propagation characteristics of the skull-brain system over a broad frequency range, from low frequencies to the ultrasound regime, by using synergistic analytical, computational, and experimental methods.” The proposed investigation of the skull and brain as a combined dynamical system will not only advance our understanding of ultrasound-based treatments, but also open new possibilities for diagnosis and therapy, which currently view the skull as a major obstacle, far from leveraging its dynamic properties.

The PIs believe that the state-of-the-art medical ultrasound research for brain can strongly benefit from a coupled investigation of skull-brain combination as a vibroacoustic system. “We are excited to work on this truly interdisciplinary project that might lead to unprecedented opportunities in the diagnosis and therapy of brain diseases” said Dr. Arvanitis, who has done extensive research in transcranial focused ultrasound over the past years.
The outcomes of this LEAP-HI research project are expected to have broad societal impacts in areas related to the public health, especially for disorders and diseases related to brain and central nervous system.

From left to right: Costas Arvanitis, Levent Degertekin, Massimo Ruzzene, and Alper Erturk