Functional and Molecular Ultrasound and Optical Maternal and Fetal Imaging


About the Program

The Maternal and Fetal Ultrasound and Optical Imaging Unit focuses on developing novel, hybrid, ultrasound-based diagnostic methods and defining the clinical utility of the developed technologies as it applies to detection and diagnosis of various complications during pregnancy and delivery, such as preterm labor and fetal distress. The goal is to help physicians and patients by providing more accurate and multi-parametric information about diseases that can help detect pathologies at their early stages of development, better plan for individualized therapy, and monitor the outcome of the therapeutic procedures. The research efforts aim to expand the scope of traditional ultrasound imaging, which is limited to imaging tissue morphology and structure and enables it to provide more information, including functional information and cellular and molecular information, to lower preterm birth and birth asphyxia. The combination of these information can greatly enhance the quality of patient care.


  • To develop novel multi-modal acoustic imaging systems for maternal and fetal healthcare during pregnancy and delivery.
  • To enhance the accuracy in detecting the risk of preterm labor.
  • To reduce the occurrence of birth asphyxia and unnecessary cesarean section (C-section).
  • To assess the underlying mechanism of the physiological changes, such as in cervical remodeling.

Research Highlights

  • Designed and developed a novel endocavity ultrasound and photoacoustic (ECUSPA) imaging system for maternal and fetal imaging during pregnancy and delivery.
  • Designed and developed a novel miniaturized ultrasound and photoacoustic endoscopic Imaging System to diagnose the diseases and abnormalities of cervical tissue.
  • Demonstrated the optical properties (collagen to water ratio) of cervical tissue changes at different phases of cervical remodeling across the gestational ages
  • Indicated the collagen to water ratio can be the risk indicator towards spontaneous preterm birth
  • Elucidated the multi-model ECUSPA imaging system is able to non-invasively estimate the metabolic rate of the fetal brain during delivery

Select Publications