Campus Map

Adam Maxwell

Research Assistant Professor, Urology






Ultrasonic tweezers: Technology to lift and steer solid objects in a living body

In a recent paper, a CIMU team describes successful experiments to manipulate a solid object within a living body with ultrasound beams transmitted through the skin.

More Info

15 Jul 2020

A collaborative, international research teams developed and tuned an ultrasound transducer to create vortex shaped beams that can trap, grab, levitate, and move in three dimensions mm-scale objects. The team is working to apply this technology to their all-in-one kidney stone treatment system that, in clinical trials, uses ultrasound to non-invasively break, erode, and move stones and stone fragments out of the kidney so that they may pass naturally from the body.

Mechanical Tissue Ablation with Focused Ultrasound

An experimental noninvasive surgery method uses nonlinear ultrasound pulses to liquefy tissue at remote target sites within a small focal region without damaging intervening tissues. A multi-institution, international team led by CIMU researchers is applying the method to the focal treatment of prostate tumors.

More Info

19 Mar 2020

Boiling histotripsy utilizes sequences of millisecond-duration HIFU pulses with high-amplitude shocks that form at the focus by nonlinear propagation effects. Due to strong attenuation of the ultrasound energy at the shocks, these nonlinear waves rapidly heat tissue and generate millimeter-sized boiling bubbles at the focus within each pulse. Then the further interaction of subsequent shocks with the vapor cavity causes tissue disintegration into subcellular debris through the acoustic atomization mechanism.

The method was proposed at APL-UW in collaboration with Moscow State University (Russia) and now is being evaluated for various clinical applications. It has particular promise because of its important clinical advantages: the treatment of tissue volumes can be accelerated while sparing adjacent structures and not injuring intervening tissues; it generates precisely controlled mechanical lesions with sharp margins; the method can be implemented in existing clinical systems; and it can be used with real-time ultrasound imaging for targeting, guidance, and evaluation of outcomes. In addition, compared to thermal ablation, BH may lead to faster resorption of the liquefied lesion contents.

PIXUL: PIXelated ULtrasound Speeds Disease Biomarker Search

More Info

26 Apr 2018

Accurate assessment of chromatin modifications can be used to improve detection and treatment of various diseases. Further, accurate assessment of chromatin modifications can have an important role in designing new drug therapies. This novel technology applies miniature ultrasound transducers to shear chromatin in standard 96-well microplates. PIXUL saves researchers hours of sample preparation time and reduces sample degradation.

More Videos


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Factors affecting tissue cavitation during burst wave lithotripsy

Maxwell, A.D., C. Hunter, B.W. Cunitz, W. Kreider, S. Totten, and Y.-N. Wang, "Factors affecting tissue cavitation during burst wave lithotripsy," Ultrasound Med. Biol., 47, 2286-2295, doi:10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2021.04.021, 2021.

More Info

1 Aug 2021

Burst wave lithotripsy (BWL) is a technology under clinical investigation for non-invasive fragmentation of urinary stones. Under certain ranges of ultrasound exposure parameters, this technology can cause cavitation in tissue leading to renal injury. This study sought to measure the focal pressure amplitude needed to cause cavitation in vivo and determine its consistency in native tissue, in an implanted stone model and under different exposure parameters. The kidneys of eight pigs were exposed to transcutaneous BWL ultrasound pulses. In each kidney, two locations were targeted: the renal sinus and the kidney parenchyma. Each was exposed for 5 min at a set pressure level and parameters, and cavitation was detected using an active cavitation imaging method based on power Doppler ultrasound. The threshold was determined by incrementing the pressure amplitude up or down after each 5-min interval until cavitation occurred/subsided. The pressure thresholds were remeasured postsurgery, targeting an implanted stone or collecting space (in sham). The presence of a stone or sham surgery did not significantly impact the threshold for tissue cavitation. Targeting parenchyma instead of kidney collecting space and lowering the ultrasound pulse repetition frequency both resulted in an increased pressure threshold for cavitation.

Mechanical characterization of fibrotic and mineralized tissue in Peyronie's disease

Brady, L., C.J. Stender, Y.-N. Wang, G.R. Schade, A.D. Maxwell, H. Wessells, and W.R. Ledoux, "Mechanical characterization of fibrotic and mineralized tissue in Peyronie's disease," Int. J. Impotence Res., EOR, 10.1038/s41443-021-00439-2, 2021.

More Info

25 May 2021

Peyronie's disease affects penile mechanics, but published research lacks biomechanical characterization of affected tunica albuginea. This work aims to establish mechanical testing methodology and characterize pathological tissue mechanics of Peyronie's disease. Tunica albuginea was obtained from patients (n = 5) undergoing reconstructive surgery for Peyronie's disease, sectioned into test specimens (n = 12), stored frozen at –20°C, and imaged with micro-computed tomography (μCT). A tensile testing protocol was developed based on similar soft tissues. Correlation of mechanical summary variables (force, displacement, stiffness, work, Young’s modulus, ultimate tensile stress, strain at ultimate tensile stress, and toughness) and μCT features were assessed with linear regression. Specimens empirically grouped into hard or soft stress–strain behavior were compared using a Student's t-test. Surface strain and failure patterns were described qualitatively. Specimens displayed high inter- and intra-subject variability. Mineralization volume was not correlated with mechanical parameters. Empirically hard tissue had higher ultimate tensile stress. Failure mechanisms and strain patterns differed between mineralized and non-mineralized specimens. Size, shape, and quantity of mineralization may be more important in determining Peyronie's disease plaque behavior than presence of mineralization alone, and single summary variables like modulus may not fully describe mechanical behavior.

First in-human burst wave lithotripsy for kidney stone comminution: Initial two case studies

Harper, J.D., I. Metzler, M.K. Hall, T.T. Chen, A.D. Maxwell, B.W. Cunitz, B. Dunmire, J. Thiel, J.C. Williams, M.R. Bailey, and M.D. Sorensen, "First in-human burst wave lithotripsy for kidney stone comminution: Initial two case studies," J. Endourol., 35, 506-511, doi:10.1089/end.2020.0725, 2021.

More Info

1 Apr 2021

Purpose: To test the effectiveness (Participant A) and tolerability (Participant B) of urinary stone comminution in the first in-human trial of a new technology, burst wave lithotripsy (BWL).

Materials and Methods: An investigational BWL and ultrasonic propulsion system was used to target a 7-mm kidney stone in the operating room before ureteroscopy (Participant A). The same system was used to target a 7.5 mm ureterovesical junction stone in clinic without anesthesia (Participant B).

Results: For Participant A, a ureteroscope inserted after 9 minutes of BWL observed fragmentation of the stone to < 2 mm fragments. Participant B tolerated the procedure without pain from BWL, required no anesthesia, and passed the stone on day 15.

Conclusions: The first in-human tests of BWL pulses were successful in that a renal stone was comminuted in < 10 minutes, and BWL was also tolerated by an awake subject for a distal ureteral stone.

More Publications


Lithotripsy That Tunes the Frequency to the Stone Size

Record of Invention Number: 49262

Mike Bailey, Adam Maxwell, Oleg Sapozhnikov


12 May 2021

Ultrasound System for Shearing Cellular Material in a Microplate

Patent Number: 10,809,166

Tom Matula, Brian MacConaghy, Adam Maxwell

More Info


20 Oct 2020

Disclosed embodiments include illustrative piezoelectric element array assemblies, methods of fabricating a piezoelectric element array assembly, and systems and methods for shearing cellular material. Given by way of non-limiting example, an illustrative piezoelectric element array assembly includes at least one piezoelectric element configured to produce ultrasound energy responsive to amplified driving pulses. A lens layer is bonded to the at least one piezoelectric element. The lens layer has a plurality of lenses formed therein that are configured to focus ultrasound energy created by single ones of the at least one piezoelectric element into a plurality of wells of a microplate disposable in ultrasonic communication with the lens layer, wherein more than one of the plurality of lenses overlie single ones of the at least one piezoelectric element.

Method and System for MRI-based Targeting, Monitoring, and Quantification of Thermal and Mechanical Bioeffects in Tissue Induced by High Intensity Focused Ultrasound

Example embodiments of system and method for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques for planning, real-time monitoring, control, and post-treatment assessment of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) mechanical fractionation of biological material are disclosed. An adapted form of HIFU, referred to as "boiling histotripsy" (BH), can be used to cause mechanical fractionation of biological material. In contrast to conventional HIFU, which cause pure thermal ablation, BH can generate therapeutic destruction of biological tissue with a degree of control and precision that allows the process to be accurately measured and monitored in real-time as well as the outcome of the treatment can be evaluated using a variety of MRI techniques. Real-time monitoring also allow for real-time control of BH.

Patent Number: 10,694,974

Vera Khokhlova, Wayne Kreider, Adam Maxwell, Yak-Nam Wang, Mike Bailey


30 Jun 2020

More Inventions

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center