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Revolutionary Medical Practice: One Image at a Time

ENG’s Tyrone Porter awarded by ASA for outstanding achievements in imaging therapy


Tyrone Porter, a College of Engineering assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, is using acoustics to change a fundamental part of practical medicine: the way prescription drugs are released into the body. His efforts have been rewarded with the 2008 R. Bruce Lindsey Award for outstanding achievements in acoustics from the Acoustical Society of America. The award will be presented at this summer’s ASA-EAA joint conference Acoustics ’08 Paris, organized by the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), the European Acoustics Association (EAA), and the Société Française d’Acoustique (SFA).

Porter, who has been an ENG faculty member since 2006, investigates how ultrasounds and acoustic fields can affect drug delivery within the human body. He is working to develop image-guided therapy to monitor the route drugs take when released into the body, and to examine how cells and tissues respond to them. “At this point, it’s a significant departure from the way therapy is given today,” he says. Currently, medical professionals have to wait for a major biological reaction to occur to understand the cellular responses. With the proper imaging technique, doctors could monitor cellular responses in “real time,” giving them more control and possibly reducing patients’ hospital time. Porter’s work in these areas has concentrated on eroding or eradicating diseased cells, such as cancer cells, with minimal damage to the healthy cells in the area.

The annual R. Bruce Lindsey award, according to the ASA, is presented to “a member of the society under 35 years of age who, during a period of two or more years immediately preceding the award, has been active in the affairs of the society and has contributed substantially, through published papers, to the advancement of theoretical or applied acoustics, or both.” Porter will receive $3,000 and a complete set of The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

“I’m still in shock,” he says. “It’s an amazing award.”

Rebecca McNamara can be reached at ramc@bu.edu.

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