High frame rate is the key
How stiff is the heart muscle actually? What is the relation between heart motion, blood perfusion, and blood flow inside the left ventricle? These are the questions I am working on.
I develop new generations of medical imaging technology. With my team at Biomedical Engineering, Thorax center, Erasmus MC Rotterdam, I advance echocardiographic imaging techniques to image stiffness, perfusion and flow of the heart and vessels. Not only the blood inside the body, but also other parts like heart valves and muscle can show very complex dynamics with maximum velocities up to 10 m/s. The key innovation is to image and analyse these dynamics by high frame rate ultrasound (up to 5000 frames/s), both with and without ultrasound contrast agents, either in 2D or in 3D. No standard clinical equipment can capture these fast dynamics, so developing the equipment and the imaging strategies is the challenging yet agreeable task.
Combining technology with clinical needs
The approach is to combine in-depth knowledge of various recent high frame rate ultrasound machines [Ultrasonics, Verasonics, Zonare], data processing, physics of ultrasound propagation, a heart failure animal model and patient studies. A large benefit of the systems is that all high frame rate data are stored to disk, which allows off-line development of current and future data-analysis algorithms and subsequent diagnosis. As such, the method provides a huge amount of functional information, otherwise unseen with conventional echocardiography. The strong link to clinicians and sonographers safeguards the direction towards clinical needs and insights.
Field(s) of expertise
Education and career
Dr. Rik Vos holds an MSc in Applied Physics (2004, with honours, Delft University of Technology) and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering (2010, Erasmus MC). He has studied at the University of Florence, Italy, for one year and broadened his view while working at the Dutch research institute TNO developing cutting-edge acoustic array sensor technology. Currently he is an associate professor at the Biomedical Engineering group of the Cardiology department at Erasmus MC Rotterdam, and at the Medical Imaging group of ImPhys, Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology.
List of clinical and volunteer studies:
- Bone perfusion imaging – with Sorbonne University, Paris (2020)
- Neonatal ultrasonic brain monitoring and vascular imaging – with Neonatology dept. (2019)
- Variability and acoustic windows of cardiac shear wave imaging in volunteers (2018 / 2019)
- Shear wave elastography in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – with Cardiology dept. (2018)
- Contrast flow imaging in a range of heart failure patients – with Cardiology dept. (2018)
- Contrast flow imaging in abdominal aorta of volunteers – with UTwente/LUMC/TU Delft (2017)
- High frame rate Doppler imaging of finger joints – with Rheumatology dept. (2016)
Rik organizes the Rotterdam Summer School of ultrasound contrast agents, and is guest teacher for several Clinical Technology courses, in collaboration with Delft University of Technology.
Rik Vos has been founder, board member and chairman of Young@Heart, the Dutch community of young cardiovascular researchers in the Netherlands.
He also was board member of the Erasmus MC Postdoc Network, and 1-yr fulltime board member of the Student Association of Applied Physics at Delft University of Technology.
He also is a co-director of the annual European Symposium of Ultrasound Contrast Imaging and Therapy, that has about 200 participants from all around the world.