CASIT has various ongoing research projects focused on telemedicine, telementoring, medical robotics, prosthetics, medical imaging, medical devices, and clinical outcomes. These collaborative projects take the approach of applying technologies developed by engineers to the medical needs of clinical specialists.
Current CASIT research projects, as of June 2015 include:
- Phenomenology of Skills Acquisition in Medical/Surgical Training
The project objective is to study intra- and inter-professional communications skills as defined by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) in General Surgery Resident Training practices. We use the defined ACGME competency milestones as the background upon which to observe, understand, and analyze how the communication skills are developed and enacted by Residents in practice. Our goal is to learn how best to embed the general concepts defined by ACGME milestones in graduate medical education at UCLA, and support practitioners' teaching and learning efforts in the complex multidisciplinary hospital environment.
- Learning Science Based Simulation for Training Combat Medics in Hemorrhage Control
The project objective is effective simulator-based training of combat medics in treatment of trauma wounds based on the hypothesis that fusion of simulation and learning technologies will enable optimal trainee-specific learning of complex cognitive, perceptual and procedural skills. The team anticipates that the project outcomes will directly extend to simulator-based training of all shock conditions, including multi-trauma, and will model the value of the novel approach for other medical and non-medical learning domains.
- Virtual Tissue Modeling for Realtime Surgical and Interventional Procedure Simulation
The project objective is to develop and evaluate a new virtual tissue modeling methodology for use in military medical training simulators for forward surgical and interventional care of combat injuries. Specific aims include: 1) Establish a virtual tissue framework for creation of integrated numerical and graphical physics-based models of human tissue appropriately balanced for robustness and realtime speed; 2) Develop a fully realized model of the liver and associated fluidic systems, as proof-of-concept for our approach, with associated injury and surgical procedure toolkits; 3) Measure physical tissue properties to populate and validate the underlying models and resulting behaviors; 4) Establish a framework for open exchange of virtual tissue models with potential as an industry-wide standard to facilitate more rapid development of surgical training simulators. These aims are broadly relevant to surgical training in all healthcare settings. Key relevance to the military arises from several factors: Combat surgeons deal with horrific injuries rarely seen in civil trauma centers. Both skill and stress training are essential to instill the ability to perform lifesaving procedures under combat conditions. Throughput demands on military training lead to compressed training cycles and unique training efficiency requirements. High fidelity training simulators will enable more pre-deployment opportunities for training under more realistic conditions and cases.
- Ultrasound-MRI Fusion for Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
R&D Focus: Fusing ultrasound and MRI imaging to engineer a novel guidance system in biopsy and treatment of prostate cancer with a 300% improvement over the current standard of care.
- Surgical Augmentation through Pneumatic Haptic Feedback
Enhancing robotic surgery by implementing a touch feedback system, allowing the surgeon to sense and feel the tissue through robotic arms
- Low Intensity Focused Ultrasound for Transcranial Neuromodulation
Novel, non-invasive treatment of epilepsy and seizures using ultrasound waves to manipulate neurons and their neurotransmitters.
- Haptic Feedback for Lower Limb Sensory Deficits
Enhancing gait and rehabilitation of persons with lower-limb amputation or sensory neuropathy. This technology uses a balloon system which inflates and deflates based on how much pressure is applied upon specific regions of the prosthetic or neuropathic foot, allowing the subject to "feel" the applied pressure and to improve gait, balance, and quality of life.
- Non-contact, THz Sensing of Corneal Hydration
To develop terahertz imaging technology and instrumentation to assess corneal hydration.
- THz Imaging of Acute Burn Wounds
To image acute skin burn wounds using terahertz and infrared imaging.
- Laser-Generated Shockwaves for Treatment of Infected Wounds
Mechanical Engineering, Surgery, Bioengineering R&D Focus: Using laser energy to destroy bacterial infections in surgical wounds, thereby sanitizing infections in a non-invasive manner before, during, and after surgery without damaging bordering tissue.
- Haptic Feedback System for Robotic Surgery
A pneumatic tactile feedback system is under development to restore tactile input to the surgeon during robotic surgery.
- Haptic Feedback for Prostheses and Sensory Neuropathy
A novel pneumatically-driven balloon-based tactile feedback system is currently under development for lower-limb amputees and for patients with lower-limb sensory neuropathy. The system will translate the pressure distribution on the feet into tactile information which can in turn be relayed to the body through a series of balloon actuators.
- Reflective Terahertz Medical Imaging Systems
A terahertz (THz) imaging system is under development for medical imaging applications. The high dielectric constant of water in the 300 GHz to 3 THz range lends itself well to the detection of slight variations in water content of biological materials.
- Laser-generated Shockwaves for Treatment of Infected Wounds
This project utilizes a novel laparoscopic surgery device developed at CASIT, the Laparobot, to conduct studies of a variety of critical communication and control factors, such as latency and quality-of-service, in concert with a variety of user population factors, such as prior training and skill levels, over a telemedical link to be established between CASIT and EMC.
- Ultrasound-MRI Fusion for Targeted Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer: Use of Artemis Device to Evaluate Organ-Confined Lesions
Our mission is to develop a clinical imaging system (Artemis) for finding CaP within the organ using MRI fusion, diagnosing serious cancers earlier than now possible with targeted biopsy, and for non-serious cancers, tracking the tumors in active surveillance.