Matthew Hantzmon, Northwestern University, Class of 2015
Major: Chemical Engineering
Summer project: Finding the most accurate calculation for lesion volume

“Prior to this summer, I was interested in finding an internship where I would be able to apply what I had previously been learning in my engineering classes at school. I wanted to be able to see examples of what type of careers similar engineers actually have. I was also very excited about the ability to work with other engineers who had somewhat different education backgrounds."

Project overview: I used the output of the MRI machine during the focused ultrasound treatment and worked to find a way to calculate the size of the lesion in the brain as a volume.

Goal:To find the most accurate calculation for the volume of the lesion. I compared my calculations with a doctor’s previous measurements and tried to determine the most consistent way to calculate volume.

Accomplishment: I worked with the temperature images and found several different ways that I could estimate the volumes with the given information. I am currently waiting on the doctor’s response to compare my results with. Once an optimal calculation is found, I will potentially improve that method.    

What was the most important learning point of your internship experience? I really enjoyed the freedom we were given to choose projects and determine exactly how we were going to accomplish our goals. I felt this was a very real engineering experience and gave me a good taste for what I would actually be working on at a real job. It was my first real engineering internship or job that I have had and I’m very glad to understand what to expect in future work that I do.     

How will your accomplishments impact the field of focused ultrasound? A common thread in a lot of the work that the interns are doing is improving the treatment time of focused ultrasound. My project specifically would be a real time assistant to doctors if they had a goal for a certain volume of tumor ablation. My project would give a good volume estimate and allow the doctors to more quickly and accurately ablate a large tumor.

How has your internship affected your career plans? If anything my internship has helped affirm my career plans. Prior to this summer, I didn’t have a very good idea about what an engineer actually accomplished on a day-to-day basis. In that regard, this was a great learning experience. I really enjoyed my work this summer with projects that I felt were meaningful. 

Written by Ellen C., McKenna

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