We’re excited to welcome Alexander Martin to the ZURT team as a postdoctoral researcher! Alex joins us from the Biomedical Ultrasonics, Biotherapy, and Biopharmaceuticals Laboratory (BUBBL) group at the University of Oxford, where he completed his PhD in Engineering Science. Welcome to the group, Alex!


We’re excited to announce that our paper entitled “Sources of Variability in Shear Wave Speed and Dispersion Quantification with Ultrasound Elastography: a phantom study” is now available to view online. The work looks at how operator dependent factors (available for selection in a clinical setting) can influence shear wave speed and shear wave dispersion measurements in phantoms. Knowing which factors contribute the most to variability is important for clinicians because they rely on ultrasound for non-invasive liver assessment. Have a look at the open access paper here:

Figure 2: Experimental procedure for analyzing confounding variables [full caption online].


We would like to wish Dr Naiara Korta Martiartu a very fond farewell, as she moves on to a new postdoc position at the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Bern. Naiara has been an integral part of the ZURT team since July 2020, and has been a wonderful colleague and friend. During her time at ZURT, Naiara authored and co-authored four papers and a conference proceeding, and contributed massively to the technical knowledge and research goals of the group. Naiara, here at ZURT we will miss you, but we wish you all the best as you start your new role!


We welcome Dr Catherine Paverd to the ZURT team. Catherine completed her PhD in Engineering at the University of Oxford in 2019 with the Biomedical Ultrasonics, Biotherapy, and Biopharmaceuticals Laboratory (BUBBL). She then completed a postdoc with the same group in Oxford before joining ZURT in April 2021. Welcome!


We congratulate our former group member Sergio J Sanabria for his new position as Ikerbasque research fellow at University of Deusto/DeustoTech. We wish you all the best in this new position! We are proud of you!


Novel technique for the assessment of skin fibrosis in systemic sclerosis published in Arthritis Research & Therapy. 
Skin fibrosis is a main hallmark of systemic sclerosis (SSc). Clinical assessment is currently done semi-quantitatively using the modified Rodnan skin score (mRSS). The aim of this study was to explore the potential of suction measurements with a novel device —the Nimble— to quantify skin fibrosis, in comparison to the Cutometer using the OMERACT filter. This clinical trial included 30 SSc patients and 30 healthy volunteers (HC). A significant difference (p < 0.05) between the skin stiffness of HC and SSc patient groups was found for each location measured. The correlation between the measurements of forearm skin stiffness and the mRSS values was high for the Nimble (r = 0.82) and moderate for the Cutometer (r = 0.58). A ROC analysis showed good ability for the Nimble to distinguish between SSc patients with and without skin involvement (AUC = 0.82). Suction devices assessing skin stiffness, such as the Nimble, show clear potential to objectively quantify skin fibrosis in SSc patients and might be promising outcome measures complementing established methods such as the mRSS.

Müller B, Ruby L, Jordan S, Rominger MB, Mazza E, Distler O: Validation of the suction device Nimble for the assessment of skin fibrosis in systemic sclerosis. Arthritis Res Ther. 2020 Jun 3;22(1):128. doi: 10.1186/s13075-020-02214-y.


First ultrasound quantitative validation for adipositas quantification in muscles has been published in European Radiology.
The speed of sound (SoS) in N=50 calf muscles was compared to the reference standard Magnetic Resonance Imaging Proton Density Fat-Fraction (MRI-PDFF). With this purpose, ultrasound and MRI measurements were anatomically segmented and co-registered. We found a very strong correlation (r=-083 (95% CI = -0.90;-0.72)) between MRI-PDFF and SoS. SoS was also superior to other convenience FF assessment methods, such as Electrical Impedance. SoS shows potential as a quantitative biomarker for fatty muscular degeneration in the elderly population (sarcopenia), with additional applications in sports medicine.

Ruby L, Kunut A, Nakhostin D N, Huber F A, Finkenstaedt T, Frauenfelder T, Sanabria SJ, Rominger MB. Speed of sound ultrasound: comparison with proton density fat fraction assessed with Dixon MRI for fat content quantification of lower extremity. doi: 10.1007/s00330-020-06885-8


ZURT highlighted at Bay Vision Meetup – 
Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging

We thank RSIP Vision for the invitation to present our research journey at the Bay Vision Meet-up. A great opportunity to reflect on the path we have walked so far and our next goals. Very pleasant audience and exciting discussion!


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“Invest in the Youth” scholarship for Dr. med. Lisa Ruby

ZURT at the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) in Vienna. Lisa Ruby receives “Invest in the Youth” scholarship for her work comparing ultrasound Speed of Sound (SoS) with Dixon MRI for muscle fat quantification.


ZURT work presented at the Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA2020) has been highlighted at

The presentation showed actual results of B-flow ultrasound and shear-wave elastography (SWE) to monitor the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome with botulinum toxin. “The presented B-flow method is promising for a wide range of applications, where contrast-enhanced US is not feasible,” the group concluded. “SWE could have diagnostic properties for differentiating idiopathic masticatory myalgia from other diseases affecting the masticatory muscles.”


Sergio J Sanabria visiting scholar at Stanford University

Sergio J Sanabria has received two mobility grants from the Gottfried & Julia Bangerter-Rhyner Foundation and the University Hospital of Zurich to develop a research project abroad, starting 01. October 2019.

Sergio will work at the Stanford Ultrasound Imaging & Instrumentation Laboratory (Prof. Dr. Jeremy Dahl), where he will develop new ultrasound quantitative methods based on Artificial Intelligence for tissue differentiation and diagnostics.


Poster prize Magna Cum Laude for ZURT at Swiss Congress of Radiology

Idiopathic masticatory myalgia (IMM) is a common condition, with connection to the stiffening of masseter muscles. Botolinium Toxin type A (BTX-A, also known to the common public as “Botox”) injections are nowadays used as a treatment. However, both the BTX-A injection process and response monitoring are currently qualitative. The research work “Visualization of Intramuscular Botulinum Toxin Propagation without Contrast Media using a new B Flow Sequence” presents a new ultrasound method to quantitatively assess the distribution of BTX-A in the masseter and to reproducibly monitor stiffness variations in the muscle. This work is the result of a collaboration between ZURT and the Clinic of Masticatory Disorders of UZH. After proof of concept has been shown in porcine masseter, a clinical study is on-going with IMM patients. The goal is to assist dentists in planning BTX-A injection strategy and monitoring outcome.


First pulse-echo speed-of-sound (SoS) clinical study for breast tumor differentiation has been published in Investigative Radiology.

A significant SoS difference allowed differentiation between benign fibroadenoma (N=10) and malignant carcinoma (N= 10). This is an important step towards achieving non-invasive quantitative imaging biomarkers for breast cancer differentiation.

Ruby L, Sanabria SJ, Martini K, Desdes KJ, Vorburger D, Oezcan E, Frauenfelder T, Goksel O, Rominger MB. Breast Cancer Assessment With Pulse-Echo Speed of Sound Ultrasound From Intrinsic Tissue Reflections: Proof of Concept (2019). Investigative Radiology doi: 10.1097/RLI.0000000000000553


ZURT has been highlighted at the European Congress of Radiology ECR2019

ECR Today 03.03.2019: Musculoskeletal ultrasound elastography – can we pave the way towards standardisation? By Dr. med. Lisa Ruby

Nowadays, ultrasound elastography is an established method for evaluating the stiffness of the liver and tumours of the breast. In contrast to these application fields, numerous confounders have prevented the widespread use of this modality for musculoskeletal diseases in a standardised fashion. The Ultrasound Research and Translation group of the Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology in Zurich has been successful
in formulating steps towards better standardisation, broadening the application fields of musculoskeletal elastography. Link


A recently published research article about degenerative musculoskeletal disease (sarcopenia) at ZURT has been highlighted in an editorial of European Radiology 

Sconfienza LM (2019) Sarcopenia: ultrasound today, smartphones tomorrow? Eur Radio. 29 (1): 1-2. 
… In conclusion, sarcopenia represents a very important societal challenge. Aside from the new technologies, imaging specialists should be aware that they should play a pivotal role in this setting and the new data presented by Sanabria and colleagues certainly goes in this direction.

Sanabria SJ, Martini K, Freystätter G et al (2018) Speed of sound ultrasound: a pilot study on a novel technique to identify sarcopenia in seniors. Eur Radiol.