Dr. Brent Hoffmeister, Director, Physics Laboratory for Ultrasonic Studies

ABOUT

Our research involves the development of ultrasonic techniques that can be used to detect changes in bone caused by osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease that decreases the structural integrity of bone and increases the risk of fracture.  Approximately 150 million people worldwide are at risk of osteoporotic fracture including hip fractures which are especially debilitating.  The one-year mortality associated with hip fractures caused by osteoporosis is approximately 30%.  Most individuals who suffer hip fractures never regain pre-injury status.

The Physics Laboratory for Ultrasonic Studies (PLUS) at Rhodes is pioneering new ultrasonic techniques that can be used to detect changes in bone and screen patients for osteoporosis.  Specifically, we are developing backscatter methods of ultrasonic bone assessment.  Backscatter measurements are performed by propagating ultrasonic pulses into regions of porous bone tissue called cancellous bone and then receiving the returned (backscattered) signal.  The backscatter signals are analyzed in novel ways to estimate the density and microstructural characteristics of bone.  Backscatter techniques may make it easier to perform ultrasonic measurements at clinically important skeletal locations such as the hip and spine where approximately two-thirds of osteoporotic fractures occur.  Also, it may be possible to adapt ultrasonic imaging systems already in clinical use for other purposes to perform backscatter measurements on bone.

While ultrasonic bone assessment has been the central focus of our lab for many years, we also have published research in the following areas:

  • Ultrasonic characterization of the elastic properties of biologic tissues
  • Ultrasonic imaging of the heart during electrical stimulation
  • Ultrasonic characterization of high performance composite materials
  • Ultrasonic stimulation of cartilage healing
  • Theoretical and experimental modeling of electrical eddy currents produced by MRI scans

 

RESEARCH GROUP NEWS

August 2018: Article in Acoustics Today: "Quantitative Ultrasound and the Management of Osteoporosis".  Read Article.

June 2018: Publication in JASA on the dependence of backscatter difference parameters on the microstructure of cancellous bone.  Read Article.

April 2018: Matthew Huber '18 receives a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.   Read News Story.

Februaruy 2018: Publication in JASA on the characterization of a polymer foam that simulates the utlrasonic properties of cancellous bone.  Read Article.

December 2017: Four students attend the 174th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.  Jordan Ankeresen '18 presents her research with Phoebe Sharp '18 on the time domain analysis of backscatter signals from cancellous bone.  Read Abstract.  Abel Diaz '18 presents his research on the anlaysis of backscatter difference parameters from clinical ultrasound data from the hip.  Read Abstract.

October 2017: Four students present their research at the Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Reserach Excellence (INBRE) 2017 Conference.  Phoebe Sharp '18 wins first place for her oral presentation and Matthew Huber '18 receives Honorable Mention for his poster presentaion.    Read News Story

September 2017: Phoebe Sharp '18 is selected as an invited student speaker for the Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Reserach Excellence (INBRE) 2017 Conference. 

August 2017: Matthew Huber '18 receives Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award from the Society of Physics Students (SPS).   Read News Story.

August 2017: Publication in JASA on signal analysis considerations involving backscatter difference measurements of bone.  Read Article.

April 2017: Matthew Huber '18 is chosen as a 2017 Goldwater Scholar.  Read News Story.  List of 2017 Scholars.

December 2016: Professor Hoffmeister gives an invited talk at the 5th Joint Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and the Acoustical Society of Japan (ASJ) on the relationship between backscatter difference measurements and the microstructure of cancellous bone.  Read Abstract

September 2016:  Professor Hoffmeister serves as an opponent for a Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Eastern Finland.  Read Dissertation.

September 2016: Two research students present at the Arkansas INBRE 2016 Conference.  Matthew Huber ’18 receives best poster award for his work on characterizing the ultrasonic properties of a bone simulating material.  Luke Fairbanks ’18 receives honorable mention for his invited presentation on backscatter difference measurements of bone using a 3.5 MHz transducer.

August 2016: Luke Fairbanks '18 is selected as an invited student speaker for the Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Reserach Excellence (INBRE) 2016 Conference. 

June 2016: Professor Hoffmeister gives a presentation at the 41st International Symposium on Ultrasonic Imaging and Tissue Characterization on the effect of signal selection on backscatter difference measurements of bone.  Read Abstract.

June 2016: Luke Fairbanks ’18 presents his work on backscatter difference measurements of bone at the 17th Meeting of the MidSouth Chapter of the Acoustical Society of America.

April 2016: Phoebe Sharp ’18 receives a first place award at the Western Division of theTennessee Academy of Sciences for her presentation on time domain analysis of backscatter signals from bone.

October 2015: Sheldon Ebron ’17 presents his work on measuring the ultrasonic reflection coefficient of cancellous bone at the 16th Meeting of the MidSouth Chapter of the Acoustical Society of America.

August 2015: Publication in Ultrasonic Imaging on the use of an ultrasonic imaging system to perform backscatter difference measurements of bone.  Read Article.

Learn more about Dr. Hoffmeister here.