2013 Summer Intern Meredith Lee


My project was to convert the units on the dose profile to cell survival for as many types of cells for which I could find appropriate data on both radiation and thermal treatments and then compare the penumbra. I also calculated the same survival curves for the essential tremor clinical data in order to compare focused ultrasound (FUS) and gamma knife (GK) procedures.

The goal is to create a better comparison of the two treatments in terms of the bioeffects, which were measured as cell survival.

I found that the penumbra for thermal treatment is much steeper than it is for radiation treatment, when compared by cell survival. I found the same results for the clinical data. I drafted an article on the comparison of thermal and radiation treatments in terms of cell survival, and I am also working on a technical note about the comparison of FUS and GK for all of the essential tremor clinical data. 

How will your accomplishments impact the field of focused ultrasound?
I have shown that the damaging effects of FUS treatment drop off much more quickly outside of the targeted region than the effects of GK treatment do. This means that FUS can target areas closer to vital, healthy cells than GK can without damaging them. This could impact the adoption of focused ultrasound, because it shows that the treatment has an advantage over the current technology.

Why were you initially interested in working with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation?
I was interested in working at the Foundation because I am interested in the biomedical engineering field, and I want to have a career working with the development of medical devices/technologies. Working at the Foundation would give me practical experience and let me explore the field that I am interested in.

What do you see yourself doing in the next year? The next five years?
In the next year I plan to continue my undergraduate education at Cornell, and, in five years, I hope to be working toward a PhD in biomedical engineering.