Nick Bottenus is excited to join the faculty in mechanical engineering at University of Colorado Boulder as an assistant professor in January 2020.
Bottenus’ research is focused on developing system-level solutions to problems in diagnostic ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound imaging is used in wide-ranging clinical settings from screening to intervention and follow-up, but the image quality often falls short of doctors' needs. The human body is a complex acoustic environment that distorts the sound from the ultrasound transducer, producing operator- and patient-dependent image artifacts that can confound diagnosis. These challenges disproportionately affect the obese and the already sick, making high-quality imaging more important. His lab develops complementary transducer sampling, acoustic signal processing and image interpretation methods to more robustly provide doctors with useful information across varied patient populations and applications.
Bottenus has spent the last 12 years at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He studied biomedical and electrical/computer engineering as an undergraduate before continuing on to graduate school in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He completed his PhD in 2017 in the lab of Dr. Gregg Trahey and remained with the lab as a research scientist. His graduate studies focused on better understanding the contributing factors to ultrasound image quality and developing solutions to those shortcomings with signal processing. His work took advantage of acoustic simulation tools, bench-top phantom experiments and bedside imaging using both research-grade and clinical scanners. He worked with clinicians in the Duke University Hospital across fetal, cardiac and liver clinics and spent six months as an intern at Siemens Healthcare in Mountain View, California. These experiences have helped him to develop a broad view of the challenges facing diagnostic ultrasound in today's medical practice and the tools available to address those problems. Bottenus is active in the medical ultrasonics professional community, attending international meetings such as the IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium and the SPIE Medical Imaging conference.
The availability of ultrasound has skyrocketed in recent years due to new manufacturing processes and computing resources. The imaging modality is now used in large hospitals at the bedside and in the operating room as well as in small clinics and under-resourced areas around the world. Cross-disciplinary tools are defining the next generation of ultrasound systems by applying chemistry, optics, robotics, machine learning and more to the world of acoustics.