Dr. Harris is part of a group of researchers in the Pulmonary Imaging and Bioengineering Laboratory, a multi-disciplinary, inter-departmental group of investigators aiming to advance the understanding of whole-organ physiology and pathophysiology of the human lung through the development and implementation of advanced imaging techniques, sophisticated mathematical and computer modeling, and bioengineering. This group applies rigorous quantitative tools to investigate the complex structure-function relationships of healthy and diseased lungs. Some of the lung diseases studied are: acute lung injury, ventilator induced lung injury, obstructive lung disease (asthma, COPD and cystic fibrosis), pulmonary embolus and pulmonary hypertension. The primary techniques of pulmonary imaging used are positron-emission tomography (PET) for functional imaging such as regional ventilation, perfusion, and inflammation, and high-resolution computed tomography scanning for structural imaging. The projects are collaborative efforts of highly skilled individuals including medical and engineering students, engineers, radiologists, nuclear physicists, and nuclear pharmacists with over 30 years experience in imaging at MGH. Some of the lab's work combining mathematical modeling and functional imaging has led to novel insights into the mechanisms of such pathophysiologic processes as bronchoconstriction in asthma or inflammation in acute lung injury.
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