William D. O'Brien, Jr.

William D O'Brien, Jr.
Research Professor
(217) 333-2407
2056 ECE Building

Research Topics

  • Bioimaging at Multi-Scale


  • Ph.D., 1970, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • M.S., 1968, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • B.S., 1966, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Research Topics

  • Bioimaging at Multi-Scale

Research Interests

  • Ultrasonic bioengineering and biophysics. My interest in nutrition is as a technique to modify biological materials in order to further my understanding of how ultrasound interacts with tissue, and vice versa. I also am interested in providing "diagnostic tools" in the form of ultrasound imaging and ultrasound tissue characterization in order to assist in the assessment of tissue modifications. Research in my laboratory deals with the mechanisms by which ultrasonic energy interacts with biological materials and applications of quantitative ultrasound imaging in biology, agriculture and medicine. For example, we developed a new means by which blood flow velocity and volume can be quantified. Current and former research projects include (1) the assessment of ultrasonic imaging quantities to evaluate tissue and fluid motion and tissue elastic properties; (2) the in vivo assessment of ultrasonic energy in utero in humans including the modeling of tissue layers between the ultrasound source and fetus (in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology); (3) the estimation of temperature increase in vivo from diagnostic ultrasound systems; (4) the development of quantitative imaging systems and their applications to objectively assess quality and quantity beef grading (in collaboration with UIUC's Meat Science Laboratory, Mayo Clinic's Biodynamics Research Unit and Riverside Research Institute's Department of Bioengineering); (5) the estimation of in vivo ultrasound exposure and dosimetric quantities; (6) the role of quantitative ultrasonic propagation properties to evaluate human wound healing processes (in collaboration with the University of Washington's Department of Dermatology) and human stunned and ischemic cardiac tissue (in collaboration with the Milwaukee County Medical Center's Division of Cardiology); (7) the application of ultrasound techniques to quantitate biological materials which have been subjected to various nutritional components (in collaboration with UIUC's Division of Nutritional Sciences); (8) the evaluation of ultrasonic risk (in collaboration with the UIUC's Department of Pathobiology and in collaboration with the University of Cincinnati's Children's Hospital Medical Center); and (9) evaluation of specific ultrasonically-induced biological effects such as that which is produced when ultrasound is incident on lung tissue (in collaboration with the UIUC's Departments of Veterinary Pathobiology, Veterinary Biosciences, and Molecular and Integrative Physiology).

Other Publications

  • J. Mamou, M.L. Oelze, W.D. O'Brien, Jr., and J.F. Zachary. (2005) Identifying ultrasonic scattering sites from three-dimensional impedance maps. J. Acoust. Soc. Amer. 117:413-423. (Selected for the January 15, 2005 issue of Virtual J. Biol. Physics Res.
  • O'Brien, Jr., W.D., D.G. Simpson, L.A. Frizzell, and J.F. Zachary. (2004) Effect of contrast agent on the incidence and magnitude of ultrasound-induced lung hemorrhage in rats. Echocardiography 21:417-422.
  • X. Yin, S.A. Morris, and W.D. O'Brien, Jr. (2003) Ultrasonic pulse-echo subwavelength defect detection mechanism: experiment and simulation. J. Nondestructive Eval. 22:103-115.
  • Frazier, C.H., Q. Tian, A. Ozguler, S.A. Morris, and W.D. O'Brien, Jr. (2000) High contrast ultrasound images of defects in food package seals. IEEE Trans. Ultrasonics Ferroelectrics Frequency Control. 47:530-539.
  • Tian, Q., B. Sun, A. Ozguler, S.A. Morris, and W.D. O'Brien, Jr. (2000) Parameter modeling in food package defect imaging. IEEE Trans. Ultrasonics Ferroelectrics Frequency Control. 47:635-643.
  • Topp, K.A. and W.D. O'Brien, Jr. (2000) Anisotropy of ultrasonic propagation and scattering properties in fresh rat skeletal muscle in vitro. J. Acoust. Soc. Amer. 107:1027-1033.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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Urbana, IL 61801, USA

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