Zhen Xu, PhD

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases.

Dr. Xu’s early papers include the first publication on histotripsy demonstrating that cavitation can be initiated and maintained in a controlled fashion to create tissue fractionation. Since then she has continued investigating the mechanism behind histotripsy on how the cavitation cloud is initiated by a single micro-second duration ultrasound pulse and how the cavitation dynamics is changed by the ultrasound pulsing parameters. This body of work laid the foundation for the invention and development of the histotripsy technique.

In addition to the technical advancement of histotripsy, she has been leading the development of histotripsy for noninvasive thrombolysis, which uses ultrasound alone to remove blood clots with high efficiency and without requiring drugs or other external agents. The in vivo validation has been focusing on the deep vein thrombosis model, but this technique has potential to treat a wide range of vascular diseases caused by blood clots. This work has been recognized as a new, promising contribution to the field of thrombosis therapy.

She has also been leading the development of a noninvasive approach of cardiac intervention, with the particular focus on congenital heart disease such as hyper-plastic left heart syndrome. She has published the first papers to show that a perforation through the atrial septum can be achieved non invasively using histotripsy both in neonatal and fetal animal models. The perforation through the atrial septum, termed as the atrial septal defect, creates a flow shunt between the left and right chambers of the heart and is a common procedure in cardiac surgery for patients with congenital heart disease. Her contribution has been recognized as an innovation with high impact potential by the field of pediatric cardiology.

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