Finite-Element (FE) Modeling of the Acoustic Reflex Test

We are developing an FE model of the middle ear in order to simulate the acoustic reflex test which our clinical colleagues are using to understand central processing disorders. Such a model would allow us to explore the effects of confounding variables that hamper interpretation of the test. There are several projects that are suitable for potential graduate students:

  • Image the middle ear using micro-computed tomography (micro-CT)

  • Develop algorithms for automatic FE mesh generation from images

  • Measure the vibrations of middle-ear structures using state-of-the-art laser Doppler vibrometry

  • Measure the immittance of the middle-ear under various physiological states

  • Perform inverse FE modeling to estimate mechanical properties

Virtual reality for surgical training

We have developed a surgical simulator for training on ear surgery. We are continually refining the simulator and testing the validity of each new component. We have the following projects in this area:

  • Develop metrics and scoring methods to automatically assess user performance

  • Conduct construct validity and VR-to-OR transference studies

Medical image processing and analysis

We are developing software for image-assisted surgical placement of cochlear implants and for implantation of bone conduction devices. We have the following projects in this area that require expertise in image processing/analysis:

  • Automate skull thickness mapping from computed tomography images

  • Develop a high-resolution digital atlas of cochlear anatomy

  • Develop algorithms for automatic segmentation of the cochlea from clinical CT images

  • Develop algorithms for automatic electrode segmentation from clinical CT images