The Frederic Lizzi Early Career Award

The Frederic Lizzi Early Career Award was established in 2008 to honor Dr. Frederic L. Lizzi, a pioneer in advanced diagnostic and therapeutic applications of ultrasound.

Meet the 2020 Lizzi Award Winners

Although we can't gather in person to honor our winners this year, we recognize their achievements and celebrate their bright futures in the field of therapeutic ultrasound.

Hong Chen, Ph.D.

Washington University in St. Louis

As an undergraduate student in China, I already knew what I wanted to do with my life: develop ultrasound techniques that would have an impact on human health. I chose medical ultrasound as my research area because ultrasound was the most affordable and commonly used imaging tool in China at that time. My undergraduate and master’s research in China focused on understanding how ultrasound cavitation causes tissue damage under the guidance of Prof. Mingxi Wan at Xi'an Jiaotong University. Because of this work, I received the RWB Stephens Prize at the World Congress in Ultrasonics/Ultrasonics International (2005) and became the first Chinese student ever to win this international award. Pursuing my Ph.D. at the University of Washington under the mentoring of Drs. Lawrence Crum and Thomas Matula, I investigated and revealed the physical mechanisms of vascular disruption by ultrasound in combination with microbubbles. This work led to a publication in one of the most prestigious journals for physics research (Chen et al., Physical Review Letters, 2011).

After graduation, I worked with Dr. Joo Ha Hwang, in the School of Medicine at the University of Washington for one year. My work focused on developing passive cavitation detection techniques for monitoring ultrasound-induced cavitation used for drug delivery to pancreatic cancer. I moved to Columbia University in 2012 and worked with Dr. Elisa Konofagou on developing ultrasound techniques for brain drug delivery. I also worked on developing an ultrasound elasticity imaging technique, Harmonic Motion Imaging,  for pancreatic tumor stiffness estimation. This work was featured on the cover of the IEEE Trans Ultrason Ferroelectr Freq Control [2015; 62(9)]. In 2014, I received the Young Investigator Award at the Focused Ultrasound International Symposium in recognition of my “outstanding research in the field of focused ultrasound”.

Since establishing my research lab at Washington University in St. Louis in 2015, I have been working on developing image-guided focused ultrasound (FUS) techniques by integrating my training in ultrasound physics, ultrasound therapy, and ultrasound imaging. The mission of my lab is to develop innovative FUS technologies to improve the lives of patients with brain diseases. Funded by NIH, NSF, and DoD, our lab has been focused on developing three techniques: 1) focused ultrasound-mediated intranasal brain drug delivery technique (FUSIN)  for brain cancer treatment, 2) focused ultrasound-enabled liquid biopsy technique (FUS-LBx) for brain cancer diagnosis and 3) sonogenetics by combining ultrasound with genetics to control neuronal activities.

Meaghan O'Reilly, Ph.D

Sunnybrook Research Institute

Dr. Meaghan A. O’Reilly is a Scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute and an Assistant Professor of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. In 2019, she was named a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Ultrasound.

Dr. O’Reilly was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, the 4th of 6 children. She studied Mechanical Engineering at Queen’s University, Canada, earning her bachelor’s degree in 2007. In fall 2007 she began the MSc in Biomedical Engineering program at the University of Oxford, where she was first introduced to biomedical acoustics. She returned to Canada and accepted a position as a Research Engineer/Physicist in Dr. Kullervo Hynynen’s lab at Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto in 2009. Dr. O’Reilly worked as a member of Dr. Hynynen’s team for 6 years, earning her PhD in Applied Physics from the University of Eastern Finland in 2012. Her work with Dr. Hynynen focused on developing new methods for safe blood-brain barrier opening, and led to notable contributions to the field, namely implementing actively controlled treatments and three-dimensional transcranial bubble mapping.

In 2015 Dr. O’Reilly became an independent researcher, accepting a Scientist position at Sunnybrook Research Institute and an appointment at the University of Toronto. A key focus of her independent research program is translating non-invasive ultrasound brain therapy methods to the spinal cord, with a particular interest in targeted drug delivery and the development of devices and methods for focusing therapeutic ultrasound beams through the intact spine at clinical scale. Dr. O’Reilly’s goal is to extend the utility of current approaches to treat diseases and disorders impacting the entire neuroaxis, broadening the potential clinical impact of ultrasound-mediated drug delivery to the CNS.