Ophthalmology lab open house highlights biomedical engineering

October 6, 2016  //  FOUND IN: UMHS News

UMHSNHP24_1As the common eye disease progresses, macular degeneration affects central vision.

But what if doctors could detect vascular changes in the eye before patients report problems seeing objects that are straight ahead?

Yannis M. Paulus, M.D., recently opened the doors of his lab at Kellogg Eye Center to show how medicine and biomedical engineering are coming together to help physicians diagnose diseases earlier, improve treatment monitoring and tailor treatment to a patient’s unique molecular markers.

Paulus joined the Kellogg faculty after completing a surgical retina fellowship in 2015 at the Wilmer Eye Institute and is looking for new collaborators among clinicians, scientists and researchers.

“My interest is in applying physics, bioengineering and mathematical modeling to develop novel retinal imaging systems and laser treatments,” said Paulus, assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences and an assistant professor of biomedical engineering.

He studies photoacoustic and molecular imaging of the retina and choroid for retinal ischemic diseases, including macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, vein occlusions and sickle cell retinopathy.

A 3-D printer hums in the lab as it produces a device that can turn a smartphone into a functioning retinal camera.

What else is happening in the Paulus Lab?

Creating photos from sound

Photoacoustic imaging is a novel imaging method that uses light absorption to induce slight local temperature changes, producing sound waves. The imaging device detects these ultrasound waves to create a high resolution 3-D image.

More than meets the eye

Molecular imaging is the wave of the future. Rather than just getting anatomic information, it is getting functional molecular information about what is going on inside the tissue. A platform in the lab allows for photoacoustic microscopy, optical coherence tomography, and confocal fluorescence molecular imaging of the eye. The images help evaluate novel biomarkers in the retina to allow for improving monitoring of patients and precision medicine.

Selective treatment

Photo-mediated ultrasound therapy is a new technology created and patented by Yannis, along with Xueding Wang and Xinmai Yang, which uses a combination of high-intensity focused ultrasound and laser to very selectively treat blood vessels without damaging the surrounding tissue.

Website: http://kellogg.umich.edu/bios/paulus.html