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Ultrasound Machine Strengthens UW Heart Research and Education

March 17, 2010 — TEXT An ultrasound machine donated by Laramie's Ivinson Memorial Hospital provides University of Wyoming faculty and students an opportunity to observe heart function that is not visible to the naked eye.

It also gives students hands-on experience working with technology similar to that used by health care workers in medicine and radiology, says D. Paul Thomas, College of Health Sciences associate dean and professor in the Division of Kinesiology and Health. IMH presented the gift to recognize UW's important role in advancing patient care.

The UW/IMH association dates to 2002, when Thomas asked Dr. Michael Comly, the IMH physician responsible for evaluating patient echocardiograms, about the possibility of doing echoes at IMH to advance UW research.

Jun Ren, director for UW's Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence, says the equipment will improve researchers' ability to detect heart function and ultimately advance future human health care.

"These ultrasound machines can cost upward of half a million dollars, so this is an incredible gift from the hospital to the university," Thomas says. "This collaboration with IMH has already resulted in several publications, will enhance researchers' ability to evaluate heart function non-invasively and improve UW's competitiveness in obtaining funding from national sources such as the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association."

Susan Harnsberger, IMH director of medical imaging, says, "We've done a number of different projects with the university for probably 20 years. The research they do is very relevant to things that are applied to medical research for people. Anytime we can support that, it's a great thing." 

UW Professor Paul Thomas evaluates heart function in a mouse using an ultrasound machine donated by Ivinson Memorial Hospital. (UW Photo)

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