Muyinatu “Bisi” Bell, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering with appointments in the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science, has been selected to receive NIH’s Trailblazer Award.

The three-year, $624,000 award, administered through the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, supports innovative early-career researchers tackling high-risk, potentially high-impact projects. The ultimate goal is to foster the invention of methods, instruments, and materials that will open new avenues of research.

Bell and her team will use the award to conduct pioneering research that integrates deep learning with ultrasound image formation to provide interventional radiologists with a new (and clearer) type of ultrasound image. These novel images only display structures of interest, such as a needle tip as it is inserted into the kidney and the corresponding kidney target location, addressing often problematic ultrasound image-quality issues. The proposed approach is the first of its kind to use data-driven methods to replace the traditional ultrasound image formation process.

Bell is also director of the Photoacoustic and Ultrasonic Systems Engineering Lab and a member of the Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare.