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December 2010 Issue

Christy Holland, PhD (left), with Kirthi Radhakrishnan, a member of Holland's lab who also participated in the beer brewing competition.
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Focus on Science: Christy Holland, PhD

By Katie Pence
Published December 2010

Focus on Science is a column highlighting basic scientists at the University of Cincinnati and their latest research. To suggest a basic scientist to be featured, please e-mail


A professor in the division of cardiovascular diseases, Christy Holland, PhD, completed her undergraduate degree at Wellesley College in 1983 and then went on to obtain several master's degrees and her doctorate degree in engineering and applied science at Yale University. She is a fellow of both the Acoustical Society of America and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine and assumed the editorship of Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, the official Journal of the World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, in July 2006. Holland is actively involved in teaching biomedical engineering and medical imaging, and she mentors and advises students within and outside of biomedical engineering educational programs. Holland has gained wide recognition nationally and internationally for her excellence and contributions in ultrasound and acoustics research. Most recently, she received the Acoustical Society of America Student Mentorship Award at the annual meeting in Cancun, Mexico, Nov. 15-19. Holland, who received her undergraduate degree in physics and music, continues to sing with the Knox Presbyterian Church choir in her spare time.


How long have you been with UC?


"I've worked at the University of Cincinnati since May of 1994. I started out in the department of radiology and was instrumental in creating the department of biomedical engineering. I co-authored a Whitaker Foundation Special Opportunities Award in 2000 that helped fund the creation of this interdisciplinary department. I recently moved to the division of cardiovascular diseases in order to focus on current research collaborations with Drs. Neal Weintraub, Keith Jones and David Manka.”


What is your current research focus?


"My research interests include the use of ultrasound for stroke therapy, mainly to break up blood clots or to deliver therapeutics—like tPA—directly to the clot. I also study the bioeffects of diagnostic and therapeutic ultrasound and acoustic cavitation, or bubble activity. By exposing liposomes filled with drugs and bubbles to a sound wave in a targeted area of the body, the drug is released exactly where it is needed, and the bubble activity accelerates uptake of the therapeutic. Using ultrasound and molecularly targeted agents, we may be able to deliver targeted therapies in a more efficient and less invasive way.”


What are your most recent research contributions?


"We are developing and patenting an ultrasound technology to optimize a certain kind of bubble activity to promote drug delivery to diseased arteries.”


How soon do you expect your findings to impact patient care?


"Once UC intellectual property surrounding the ultrasound-enhanced thrombolysis (break up of blood clots by pharmaceutical means) technology is licensed to a company—negotiations are currently ongoing—I would expect a medical device to be on the market for use clinically within five years.”                                                                                                                            


Kirthi Radhakrishnan, who is under the direction of Holland, explains her recent research at

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