About the Center

Contrast Agent Synthesis

A focus of our group is to develop new and modified ultrasound contrast agent microbubbles which, in combination with ultrasound, comprise the backbone of our research. We manufacture various types of gas-filled encapsulated microspheres, or microbubbles, that vary in size from submicron to 3-5 microns in diameter. The composition of the microbubble shell confers distinct acoustic characteristics and enables different types of surface chemistry to permit attachment of targeting ligands (for molecular imaging), drugs, or genes (for therapeutics). Currently, we synthesize lipid-encapsulated and polymer based microbubbles.

contrast agent

Above: Basis for molecular imaging with microbubbles. Schematic of a blood vessel with dysfunctional endothelium bearing surface markers of disease (e.g. inflammation). A targeted microbubble bears a ligand on its surface that confers specific binding to the disease marker, whereas a nontargeted microbubble has a nonreactive surface and transits through the circulation without adhering to the endothelium. Figure not drawn to scale.

Source: Villanueva FS and Wagner WR. Ultrasound molecular imaging of cardiovascular disease. Nat Clin Pract Cardiovasc Med. 2008 Aug;5 Suppl 2:S26-32. doi: 10. 1038/ncpcardio1246