Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

James C. Lacefield, Ph.D., P.Eng.

Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Medical Biophysics     519-661-2111 ext. 84303     TEB 371


James C. Lacefield received B.S.E. and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering from Duke University in 1992 and 1999. He was an NSF/ERC Predoctoral Fellow in the Center for Emerging Cardiovascular Technologies during his graduate studies. From 1999 through 2001 he served as a Visiting Research Associate of the Diagnostic Ultrasound Research Laboratory in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Rochester. His work at the University of Rochester was funded in part by the 2000-01 Acoustical Society of America Frederick V. Hunt Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Acoustics.

Dr. Lacefield joined the University of Western Ontario in 2001 and is currently an Associate Professor jointly appointed to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Medical Biophysics. He is also a faculty member of Western's Biomedical Engineering Graduate Program, a Mentor in Western's CIHR Strategic Training Program in Cancer Research and Technology Transfer, and an Associate Scientist of the Imaging Research Laboratories at Robarts Research Institute.

Dr. Lacefield is a member of the Acoustical Society of America, the American Society for Engineering Education, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario.

Research Interests

Dr. Lacefield’s research activities address physical acoustics and signal processing aspects of biomedical ultrasound imaging, with an emphasis on applications of ultrasound to cancer and cardiovascular research.

Preclinical imaging is a rapidly progressing field of biomedical engineering that adapts clinical diagnostic imaging technologies for use with mice and other small animals employed as biomedical research models. The objective of preclinical imaging is to accelerate the discovery of causes and treatments for human diseases by enabling measurements of molecular, cellular, and physiological processes in live animal models. Preclinical imaging should help control the costs of new treatments by improving the efficiency of the discovery stages of biomedical research and by improving researchers’ ability to select only the most promising therapies for further study in clinical trials.

Dr. Lacefield’s research team develops applications of high-frequency ultrasound in preclinical imaging. This work is performed at the recently established Preclinical Imaging Research Centre at Robarts Research Institute and involves collaborators from Robarts, the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, and the London Regional Cancer Program. Dr. Lacefield’s current projects include measurement of the effects of anticancer treatments on mouse tumour growth kinetics and blood flow, analysis of cardiac function in a mouse models of congenital heart disease and heart transplantation, nondestructive evaluation of biomaterials for prosthetic heart valves, and development of an ultrasound-guided robotic system for performing injections and needle biopsies in small animals. Each of these projects employ multiple ultrasound data acquisition strategies, including three-dimensional imaging for volume measurements, pulsed and power Doppler blood flow measurements, M-mode measurements of tissue motion, and spectral analysis of ultrasound signals for characterizing tissue microstructure.

Computational modeling of ultrasound cancer imaging is Dr. Lacefield’s other primary area of research. The modeling studies employ two-dimensional and three-dimensional computational anatomy models in combination with software for simulation of ultrasound propagation and scattering implemented on SharcNet, a regional high-performance computing facility. One simulation project models the ultrasonic properties of breast tumours. The long-term objective of this project is to establish a modeling resource for use in developing imaging techniques to improve the ability of clinical ultrasound systems to detect and classify breast cancer. A second project explores the biophysical mechanisms of contrast in high-frequency ultrasound images of tumours. These simulations will support the development of techniques for measuring initial treatment responses in mouse cancer models that occur before changes in tumour growth or blood flow become evident. Insights from the high-frequency simulations will be translated into experimental use through the lab’s high-frequency ultrasound research program.

Summaries of current research projects may be found in the "Research" section which will lead you to Dr. Lacefield's web page from the Robarts Research Institute.

Keywords: Biomedical ultrasound imaging, preclinical imaging, acoustic wave propagation and scattering, ultrasound signal processing, physiological and anatomical modeling, cancer imaging, cardiovascular imaging.