The Center for Ultrasound Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics at UPMC is a multidisciplinary translational research facility designed to develop the science and technology of ultrasound contrast agents and ultrasound imaging systems with the goal of moving basic discoveries in ultrasound-based molecular imaging and treatments into clinical practice.


Led by Flordeliza S. Villanueva, MD, director of Noninvasive Cardiac Imaging at the UPMC Cardiovascular Institute, the Center’s research staff are primarily engaged in the development and application of ultrasound contrast agents, or “microbubbles," – which offer a promising method for imaging early disease with ultrasound molecular imaging as well as for delivering targeted drug or gene therapy.

Some of the applications on which Center researchers are currently working include the following microbubble-based noninvasive detection and treatment methods:

  • rapid molecular diagnosis of ischemic chest pain in the Emergency Room
  • detection of high-risk atherosclerosis plaques
  • evaluation of angiogenesis
  • stem cell imaging
  • accelerated endothelialization following stent placement
  • gene delivery
  • drug delivery
  • sonoreperfusion