Physical Acoustics SIG webinar. Ultrasonic surgery: Using sound to heal

29 November 2023

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Online (zoom). Please follow the Register link to sign up for this webinar


Robin Cleveland

Department of Engineering Science

University of Oxford


Ultrasound is widely used to image inside the body; however it is also emerging as a therapeutic modality to treat certain medical conditions.   In this talk some of the applications of therapeutic ultrasound will be presented, including:  high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to thermally ablate of localised regions of tissue in order to treat solid tumours;  the disruption of tissue (histotripsy) by cavitation;  the fragmentation of kidney stones (lithotripsy) by means of shock waves; and the combination of ultrasound with microscopic drug carriers in order to deliver therapeutic drugs to specific locations in the body.  The talk will describe the underlying acoustic phenomena relevant to these applications and the interaction of sound with tissue through heating, cavitation and radiation force.   The opportunities and barriers to the wider adoption of sound to heal will be discussed.


Robin Cleveland is Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford and Tutorial Fellow at Magdalen College.  He did his BSc and MSc degrees at the University of Auckland in New Zealand after which he moved to the University of Texas at Austin where he received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering on sonic boom propagation in the atmosphere. Upon completion of his PhD he was award the F.V. Hunt Fellowship of the Acoustical Society of America which he carried out at the University of Washington in Seattle studying shock wave lithotripsy – breaking of kidney stones by shock waves.  After two years in Seattle, Robin joined the faculty at Boston University where he remained for fourteen years rising to the rank of Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He has been at the University of Oxford since 2011 where he teaches thermodynamics and fluid mechanics and carries out research on therapeutic uses of ultrasound including: ultrasound mediated drug delivery, fragmentation of kidney stones, mechanical and thermal ablation, and neuromodulation.


Posted on 20th October 2023 in Physical Acoustics, Events