oliver d. kripfgans, phd

Research Associate Professor, Radiology
Research Associate Professor, Applied Physics
Research Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering


Dr. Kripfgans’ research focus is centered on clinical implementation and physical aspects of medical ultrasound (diagnostics and therapeutics). As an experimental physicist by training with over 20 years in ultrasound, his expertise ranges from basic science to clinical implementation. The latter involves regular interactions with physician colleagues in Radiology and other departments.

High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is investigated by Dr. Kripfgans (PI) for therapeutic applications in curative and palliative medicine. Together with colleagues from Radiology and Cardiology, myocardial microlesions are generated under ultrasonic and electrocardiographic guidance. Here, ultrasound contrast agents for cardiac imaging are exposed to HIFU to promote the focal treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy by said microlesions. With this method, the clinical operator can non-invasively monitor procedure using real-time ultrasonic imaging, rather than by traditional scaring procedures such as surgical intervention or alcohol ablation. Sonoactive agents are investigated by Dr. Kripfgans for Magnetic Resonance guided thermal ablation procedures such as uterine fibroid ablation or treatment of hepatic cell carcinoma. Together with colleagues from Radiology ultrasound and MRI divisions, the basic science of effective energy conversion from acoustic waves to thermal energy is developed for expeditious procedure times. As a result, HIFU lesions placed by clinical MR guidance are created 15x faster than by current methods. In a collaborative effort of other these and other Radiology and Internal Medicine faculty, these sonoactive agents are engineered to carry infliximab to treat inflammatory bowel disease. 

Together with basic scientists and physician scientists from the Departments of Radiology, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Dentistry, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Emergency Medicine, Dr. Kripfgans investigates how quantitative blood volume flow can be assessed avoiding current limitations when acquired in three dimensions. The nature of this approach is straight forward and will revolutionize ultrasonic blood volume flow imaging of the vascular system. As a clinical example, Transjugular Intrahepatic Porto-systemic Shunts are sonographically assessed by basic scientists and Interventional Radiology faculty. This non-invasive and quantitative blood volume flow assessment will potentially set a new industry standard for guiding the treatment of portal hypertension and its sequelae including variceal bleeding and ascites.

Implementation of this quantitative blood volume flow technique on clinical ultrasound scanners is now moving ahead with GE Medical Systems for initial application in Maternal-Fetal Medicine. In a study with OB/Gyn faculty and others, Dr. Kripfgans correctly identified two cases of intrauterine growth restriction and preeclampsia, demonstrating the potential for clinical diagnosis and identification of at-risk pregnancies.