Bio


Ross is a Senior Lecturer in the Bioengineering department and he directs Engineering at the Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign.

Ross co-leads three undergraduate courses at Stanford—an instrumentation lab (BIOE123) and an open-ended capstone design lab sequence (BIOE141A/B)—and he supports other courses and runs hands-on workshops in the areas of prototyping and systems engineering related to medical device innovation. He enjoys the unique challenges and constraints offered by biomedical engineering projects, and he delights in the opportunity for collaborative learning in a problem-solving environment.

An Electrical Engineer by training (Stanford BS, MS, PhD), Ross’ graduate work focused on building and applying new types of MRI hardware for interventional and device-related uses. Following a Biodesign Innovation fellowship, Ross helped to start the MRI safety program at Boston Scientific Neuromodulation, where he continues working across the MRI safety community to create and improve international standards and to enable safe MRI access for patients with implanted medical devices.

Academic Appointments


All Publications


  • Modified full-face snorkel masks as reusable personal protective equipment for hospital personnel. PloS one Kroo, L., Kothari, A., Hannebelle, M., Herring, G., Pollina, T., Chang, R., Peralta, D., Banavar, S. P., Flaum, E., Soto-Montoya, H., Li, H., Combes, K., Pan, E., Vu, K., Yen, K., Dale, J., Kolbay, P., Ellgas, S., Konte, R., Hajian, R., Zhong, G., Jacobs, N., Jain, A., Kober, F., Ayala, G., Allinne, Q., Cucinelli, N., Kasper, D., Borroni, L., Gerber, P., Venook, R., Baek, P., Arora, N., Wagner, P., Miki, R., Kohn, J., Kohn Bitran, D., Pearson, J., Arias-Arco, B., Larrainzar-Garijo, R., Herrera, C. M., Prakash, M. 2021; 16 (1): e0244422

    Abstract

    Here we adapt and evaluate a full-face snorkel mask for use as personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers, who lack appropriate alternatives during the COVID-19 crisis in the spring of 2020. The design (referred to as Pneumask) consists of a custom snorkel-specific adapter that couples the snorkel-port of the mask to a rated filter (either a medical-grade ventilator inline filter or an industrial filter). This design has been tested for the sealing capability of the mask, filter performance, CO2 buildup and clinical usability. These tests found the Pneumask capable of forming a seal that exceeds the standards required for half-face respirators or N95 respirators. Filter testing indicates a range of options with varying performance depending on the quality of filter selected, but with typical filter performance exceeding or comparable to the N95 standard. CO2 buildup was found to be roughly equivalent to levels found in half-face elastomeric respirators in literature. Clinical usability tests indicate sufficient visibility and, while speaking is somewhat muffled, this can be addressed via amplification (Bluetooth voice relay to cell phone speakers through an app) in noisy environments. We present guidance on the assembly, usage (donning and doffing) and decontamination protocols. The benefit of the Pneumask as PPE is that it is reusable for longer periods than typical disposable N95 respirators, as the snorkel mask can withstand rigorous decontamination protocols (that are standard to regular elastomeric respirators). With the dire worldwide shortage of PPE for medical personnel, our conclusions on the performance and efficacy of Pneumask as an N95-alternative technology are cautiously optimistic.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0244422

    View details for PubMedID 33439902

  • Novel Neonatal Umbilical Catheter Protection and Stabilization Device in In vitro Model of Catheterized Human Umbilical Cords: Effect of Material and Venting on Bacterial Colonization. American journal of perinatology Wood, L. S., Fuerch, J. H., Dambkowski, C. L., Chehab, E. F., Torres, S., Shih, J. D., Venook, R., Wall, J. K. 2019

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVE: Umbilical central lines deliver life-saving medications and nutrition for neonates; however, complications associated with umbilical catheters (UCs) occur more frequently than in adults with central lines (i.e., line migration, systemic infection). We have developed a device for neonatal UC protection and stabilization to reduce catheter exposure to bacteria compared with the standard of care: "goal post" tape configuration. This study analyzes the effect of device venting and material on bacterial load of human umbilical cords in vitro.STUDY DESIGN: Catheters were inserted into human umbilical cord segments in vitro, secured with plastic or silicone vented prototype versus tape, and levels of bacterial colonization were compared between groups after 7 days of incubation.RESULTS: Nonvented plastic prototype showed increased bacterial load compared with goal post (p=0.04). Colonization was comparable between the goal post and all vented plastic prototypes (p≥0.30) and when compared with the vented silicone device (p=1).CONCLUSION: A novel silicone device does not increase external bacterial colonization compared with the current standard of care for line securement, and may provide a safe, convenient alternative to standard adhesive tape for UC stabilization. Future studies are anticipated to establish safety in vivo, alongside benefits such as migration and infection reduction.

    View details for DOI 10.1055/s-0039-1700542

    View details for PubMedID 31739365

  • The Impact of Postgraduate Health Technology Innovation Training: Outcomes of the Stanford Biodesign Fellowship ANNALS OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING Wall, J., Hellman, E., Denend, L., Rait, D., Venook, R., Lucian, L., Azagury, D., Yock, P. G., Brinton, T. J. 2017; 45 (5): 1163-1171

    Abstract

    Stanford Biodesign launched its Innovation Fellowship in 2001 as a first-of-its kind postgraduate training experience for teaching biomedical technology innovators a need-driven process for developing medical technologies and delivering them to patients. Since then, many design-oriented educational programs have been initiated, yet the impact of this type of training remains poorly understood. This study measures the career focus, leadership trajectory, and productivity of 114 Biodesign Innovation Fellowship alumni based on survey data and public career information. It also compares alumni on certain publicly available metrics to finalists interviewed but not selected. Overall, 60% of alumni are employed in health technology in contrast to 35% of finalists interviewed but not selected. On leadership, 72% of alumni hold managerial or higher positions compared to 48% of the finalist group. A total of 67% of alumni reported that the fellowship had been "extremely beneficial" on their careers. As a measure of technology translation, more than 440,000 patients have been reached with technologies developed directly out of the Biodesign Innovation Fellowship, with another 1,000,000+ aided by solutions initiated by alumni after their training. This study suggests a positive impact of the fellowship program on the career focus, leadership, and productivity of its alumni.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10439-016-1777-1

    View details for Web of Science ID 000399805600001

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5397448

  • An Optically Coupled System for Quantitative Monitoring of MRI-Induced RF Currents Into Long Conductors IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON MEDICAL IMAGING Zanchi, M. G., Venook, R., Pauly, J. M., Scott, G. C. 2010; 29 (1): 169-178

    Abstract

    The currents induced in long conductors such as guidewires by the radio-frequency (RF) field in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are responsible for potentially dangerous heating of surrounding media, such as tissue. This paper presents an optically coupled system with the potential to quantitatively measure the RF currents induced on these conductors. The system uses a self shielded toroid transducer and active circuitry to modulate a high speed light-emitting-diode transmitter. Plastic fiber guides the light to a photodiode receiver and transimpedance amplifier. System validation included a series of experiments with bare wires that compared wire tip heating by fluoroptic thermometers with the RF current sensor response. Validations were performed on a custom whole body 64 MHz birdcage test platform and on a 1.5 T MRI scanner. With this system, a variety of phenomena were demonstrated including cable trap current attenuation, lossy dielectric Q-spoiling and even transverse electromagnetic wave node patterns. This system should find applications in studies of MRI RF safety for interventional devices such as pacemaker leads, and guidewires. In particular, variations of this device could potentially act as a realtime safety monitor during MRI guided interventions.

    View details for DOI 10.1109/TMI.2009.2031558

    View details for Web of Science ID 000273334400015

    View details for PubMedID 19758855

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2929568

  • Three-dimensional prepolarized magnetic resonance imaging using rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement MAGNETIC RESONANCE IN MEDICINE Matter, N. I., Scott, G. C., Venook, R. D., Ungersma, S. E., Grafendorfer, T., Macovski, A., Conolly, S. M. 2006; 56 (5): 1085-1095

    Abstract

    Prepolarized MRI (PMRI) with pulsed electromagnets has the potential to produce diagnostic quality 0.5- to 1.0-T images with significantly reduced cost, susceptibility artifacts, specific absorption rate, and gradient noise. In PMRI, the main magnetic field cycles between a high field (B(p)) to polarize the sample and a homogeneous, low field (B(0)) for data acquisition. This architecture combines the higher SNR of the polarizing field with the imaging benefits of the lower field. However, PMRI can only achieve high SNR efficiency for volumetric imaging with 3D rapid imaging techniques, such as rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement (RARE) (FSE, TSE), because slice-interleaved acquisition and longitudinal magnetization storage are both inefficient in PMRI. This paper demonstrates the use of three techniques necessary to achieve efficient, artifact-free RARE in PMRI: quadratic nulling of concomitant gradient fields, electromotive force cancelation during field ramping, and phase compensation of CPMG echo trains. This paper also demonstrates the use of 3D RARE in PMRI to achieve standard T(1) and fat-suppressed T(2) contrast in phantoms and in vivo wrists. These images show strong potential for future clinical application of PMRI to extremity musculoskeletal imaging and peripheral angiography.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/mrm.21065

    View details for Web of Science ID 000241761900018

    View details for PubMedID 17029228

  • Prepolarized magnetic resonance imaging around metal orthopedic implants MAGNETIC RESONANCE IN MEDICINE Venook, R. D., Matter, N. I., Ramachandran, M., Ungersma, S. E., Gold, G. E., Giori, N. J., Macovski, A., Scott, G. C., Conolly, S. M. 2006; 56 (1): 177-186

    Abstract

    A prepolarized MRI (PMRI) scanner was used to image near metal implants in agar gel phantoms and in in vivo human wrists. Comparison images were made on 1.5- and 0.5-T conventional whole-body systems. The PMRI experiments were performed in a smaller bore system tailored to extremity imaging with a prepolarization magnetic field of 0.4 T and a readout magnetic field of 27-54 mT (1.1-2.2 MHz). Scan parameters were chosen with equal readout gradient strength over a given field of view and matrix size to allow unbiased evaluation of the benefits of lower readout frequency. Results exhibit substantial reduction in metal susceptibility artifacts under PMRI versus conventional scanners. A new artifact quantification technique is also presented, and phantom results confirm that susceptibility artifacts improve as expected with decreasing readout magnetic field using PMRI. This proof-of-concept study demonstrates that prepolarized techniques have the potential to provide diagnostic cross-sectional images for postoperative evaluation of patients with metal implants.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/mrm.20927

    View details for Web of Science ID 000238823600019

    View details for PubMedID 16724303

  • Magnetic resonance imaging with T-1 dispersion contrast MAGNETIC RESONANCE IN MEDICINE Ungersma, S. E., Matter, N. I., Hardy, J. W., Venook, R. D., Macovski, A., Conolly, S. M., Scott, G. C. 2006; 55 (6): 1362-1371

    Abstract

    Prepolarized MRI uses pulsed magnetic fields to produce MR images by polarizing the sample at one field strength (approximately 0.5 T) before imaging at a much lower field (approximately 50 mT). Contrast reflecting the T(1) of the sample at an intermediate field strength is achieved by polarizing the sample and then allowing the magnetization to decay at a chosen "evolution" field before imaging. For tissues whose T(1) varies with field strength (T(1) dispersion), the difference between two images collected with different evolution fields yields an image with contrast reflecting the slope of the T(1) dispersion curve between those fields. Tissues with high protein content, such as muscle, exhibit rapid changes in their T(1) dispersion curves at 49 and 65 mT due to cross-relaxation with nitrogen nuclei in protein backbones. Tissues without protein, such as fat, have fairly constant T(1) over this range; subtracting images with two different evolution fields eliminates signal from flat T(1) dispersion species. T(1) dispersion protein-content images of the human wrist and foot are presented, showing clear differentiation between muscle and fat. This technique may prove useful for delineating regions of muscle tissue in the extremities of patients with diseases affecting muscle viability, such as diabetic neuropathy, and for visualizing the protein content of tissues in vivo.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/mrm.20910

    View details for Web of Science ID 000238051000017

    View details for PubMedID 16673360

  • Dual in vivo magnetic resonance evaluation of magnetically labeled mouse embryonic stem cells and cardiac function at 1.5 T MAGNETIC RESONANCE IN MEDICINE Arai, T., Kofidis, T., Bulte, J. W., de Bruin, J., Venook, R. D., Berry, G. J., McConnell, M. V., Quertermous, T., Robbins, R. C., Yang, P. C. 2006; 55 (1): 203-209

    Abstract

    Cell therapy has demonstrated the potential to restore injured myocardium. A reliable in vivo imaging method to localize transplanted cells and monitor their restorative effects will enable a systematic investigation of this therapeutic modality. The dual MRI capability of imaging both magnetically labeled mouse embryonic stem cells (mESC) and their restorative effects on cardiac function in a murine model of acute myocardial infarction is demonstrated. Serial in vivo MR detection of transplanted mESC and monitoring of the mESC-treated myocardium was conducted over a 4-week period using a 1.5 T clinical scanner. During the 4-week duration, the mESC-treated myocardium demonstrated sustained improvement of the left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction and conservation of LV mass. Furthermore, no significant difference of their restorative effects on the cardiac function was created by the magnetic labeling of mESC. Thus, in vivo MRI enables simultaneous detection of transplanted mESC and their therapeutic effect on the injured myocardium.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/mrm.20702

    View details for PubMedID 16315206

  • Automatic tuning of flexible interventional RF receiver coils MAGNETIC RESONANCE IN MEDICINE Venook, R. D., Hargreaves, B. A., Gold, G. E., Conolly, S. M., Scott, G. C. 2005; 54 (4): 983-993

    Abstract

    Microcontroller-based circuitry was built and tested for automatically tuning flexible RF receiver coils at the touch of a button. This circuitry is robust to 10% changes in probe center frequency, is in line with the scanner, and requires less than 1 s to tune a simple probe. Images were acquired using this circuitry with a varactor-tunable 1-inch flexible probe in a phantom and in an in vitro porcine knee model. The phantom experiments support the use of automatic tuning by demonstrating 30% signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) losses for 5% changes in coil center frequency, in agreement with theoretical calculations. Comparisons between patellofemoral cartilage images obtained using a 3-inch surface coil and the surgically-implanted 1-inch flexible coil reveal a worst-case local SNR advantage of a factor of 4 for the smaller coil. This work confirms that surgically implanted coils can greatly improve resolution in small-field-of-view (FOV) applications, and demonstrates the importance and feasibility of automatically tuning such probes.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/mrm.20616

    View details for Web of Science ID 000232348000027

    View details for PubMedID 16155871