Inventors of the Month - June 2016

This article was posted on: June 9, 2016

Guohua Cao

“Ultrafast Micro-CT for Imaging Free-Moving Animals”

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation recognizes Guohua Cao as Inventor of the Month for June 2016 for his invention, “Ultrafast Micro-CT for Imaging Free-Moving Animals,” disclosed to Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc.

The schematics and picture of a single CNT field emission x-ray source based interior micro-CT system

In the last decade, the interest in micro computed tomography (CT) has escalated for in vivo imaging of animal skeletal and soft tissues to study cancer, bone disease, and cardiovascular systems. Dr. Cao’s invention enables, for the first time ever, 3D X-ray imaging of a free-moving animal subject without the need for anesthetization, which offers a reduction of cost, as well as risk to the animals, over current imaging processes. Furthermore, ultrafast data acquisition with high temporal resolution improves the efficiency of the process. Additionally, the micro-CT imaging system cuts radiation doses by up to 85%, dramatically diminishing the risks from radiation during X-ray imaging. Such a unique capability should lead to a widespread interest from investigators who use micro-CT devices for imaging small animal models of human diseases. This micro-CT could also potentially be applied as a tool to guide invasive surgeries with real-time imaging.


Guohua Cao received his B.S. in chemical physics from the University of Science and Technology of China and his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Brown University, and he performed postdoctoral work at Brown and UNC Chapel Hill before joining the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering & Sciences, then Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Cao’s work on this invention was funded by an NSF CAREER grant, and he continues to focus his research efforts on development of carbon nanotube x-ray source technology, biomedical imaging systems, and image-guided cancer treatment.

Guohua Cao

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