William D. O’Brien, Jr.


Dr. O’Brien is the Donald Biggar Willet Professor of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From 1971 to 1975 he worked with the Bureau of Radiological Health (currently CDRH) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Since 1975, he has been at the University of Illinois, where he is the Donald Biggar Willet Professor of Engineering. He also is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and of Bioengineering, College of Engineering; Professor of Bioengineering, College of Medicine; Professor of Nutritional Sciences, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Research Professor in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. He is the Director of the Bioacoustics Research Laboratory.

His research interests involve the many areas of acoustic- and ultrasound-tissue interaction, including biological effects and quantitative acoustic imaging for which he has published 368 papers, and has an NIH MERIT (R37) award. Dr. O’Brien’s research deals with the mechanisms by which acoustic energy interacts with biological and non-biological materials (physical acoustics), and applications of quantitative acoustic imaging in biology, agriculture, material science and medicine. The applications of quantitative ultrasound (QUS) imaging research activities focus on the development of novel techniques to improve the quality of life. Specifically, the QUS imaging techniques are targeting mammary tumors and liver cancer by the quantification of tissue microstructure through acoustic backscatter. The overall idea is that a set of QUS parameters can significantly improve breast lesion and liver cancer differentiation/classification. Such QUS techniques, in principal, can be applied to almost any category of tissue disease for which there is a change in the tissue microstructure.


Cancer diagnosis, Quantitative ultrasound imaging

More Information

Visit http://www.brl.uiuc.edu/ to learn more about Dr. O’Brien, and visit http://www.brl.uiuc.edu/Publications/ for publication information.

*University of Illinois Cancer Center Member