Kristy K. Brock, Ph.D.
Imaging is a critical component in the detection, characterization and treatment of cancer. The rich information content of advanced imaging methods, combined with the growing capacity to collect multiple types of images from various sources and time points during therapy opens an exciting prospect for image-based guidance and assessment of interventions for radiation oncology, surgery, interventional radiology and image-guided drug delivery. However, a major obstacle to full exploitation of this paradigm is the natural deformations in anatomy between imaging events or between imaging and intervention events.
It is my vision that mechanically informed models of human anatomy can regularize these variations and allow maximum information extraction from these data sources. Failure to develop tools to address this will limit both the discovery of new information from these sources as well as the application of this information in patient treatment.
Over the past 15 years, my research program has focused on the development of a novel deformable modeling technique using biomechanical models and finite element analysis, Morfeus. The technique, which is substantially different than the widely available deformable image registration algorithms that rely on image intensity, incorporates the biomechanical properties of tissues to model the complex interaction of neighboring tissues and tumors.
My overall research program focused on the development and application of image guidance technologies for cancer therapy including radiation oncology, surgery, and interventional radiology. These initiatives focus on innovations in imaging, including reconstruction and acquisition techniques, computational modeling, including imaging processing, segmentation, anatomical modeling, and interfacing with big data analytics, correlative pathology, to validate image signal to improve the understanding of tumor and normal tissue heterogeneity, and visualization to advance the integration of image information into the interventional room. Highlighted are some of the initial target studies my lab is pursuing in combination with outstanding collaborators here at MD Anderson Cancer Center.