Zbijewski Leads New Program for Imaging of Bone Health

No bones about it: Dr. Wojciech Zbijewski‘s research is breaking new ground in imaging technology and advancing the clinical understanding of conditions affecting the bones and joints. Dr. Z (“Wojtek”) and his team are developing new imaging methods that break conventional barriers to spatial resolution, give quantitative characterization of bone morphology, and shed new light on diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. Underlying such advances are new methods for 3D imaging at spatial resolution beyond that of conventional computed tomography (CT).

Wojtek and colleagues are combining high-resolution CMOS detectors for cone-beam CT with advanced model-based 3D image reconstruction methods in an NIH R01 project that aims to resolve subtle changes in subchondral trabecular bone morphology as a sign of early-stage osteoarthritis (OA). Conventional methods detect OA only at later stages of cartilage degeneration and bone erosion, when treatment options are limited and often require joint replacement. Collaborators include Dr. Xu Cao (Orthopaedic Surgery) and Dr. Shadpour Demehri (Radiology).

Other NIH-funded research in collaboration with Dr. Carol Morris (Orthopaedic Surgery and Radiation Oncology) aims to quantify changes in bone quality following radiation therapy to identify early signs of fracture risk.

In collaboration with US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC), Wojtek’s team is developing tools for quantitative image analysis of joint morphology in correlation with factors of injury risk (for example, ACL injury) – tools that have in turn driven new methods for automatic characterization of joint morphology for a variety of musculoskeletal (MSK) radiology applications.

In collaboration with Carestream Health, the team includes close collaboration with Dr. Shadpour Demehri (Hopkins Radiology), Dr. Greg Osgood (Hopkins Orthopaedic Surgery), and Dr. Lew Schon (Union Memorial Orthopaedic Surgery) to understand patterns of traumatic injury repair and fracture healing – pushing the limits of cone-beam CT spatial resolution and quantitative capability.

Dr. Zbijewski is faculty in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, with laboratories based at the Johns Hopkins Hospital – I-STAR Laboratory and Carnegie Center for Surgical Innovation.