Early Stage Researcher 4.1: Piotr Chudzik

My name is Piotr Chudzik and I have recently started my new research job and Phd studentship within the REVAMMAD programme, part of the European Union’s 7th Framework (FP7) Marie Curie Initial Training Network programme. I work with Dr Luca Antiga and Orobix in Bergamo,Italy on the Data Warehouse and the Evaluation Framework. This project will address three big impediments in the retinal imaging field:

  1. Lack of shared data and ways to share data.
  2. Lack of standardized evaluation protocol.
  3. No ways to compare newly developed techniques against each other.

The project is divided into three main phases:

  1. Building the Data Warehouse and the Evaluation Framework.
  2. Combining multiple methods to improve performance.
  3. Matching new individuals against existing datasets.

The Data Warehouse will allow users to deposit data (retinal images, modelling data, statistical data) and meta-data (e.g. disease details) in a secure and confidential repository.

Moreover users will be able to store and execute algorithms on available datasets inside the Data Warehouse. This will allow to benchmark and evaluate computations against multiple datasets. The Evaluation Framework will include following functionality:

  1. Validation Wrappers – users will be able to define their own methods of validation.
  2. Statistical Validation Service – automated or semi-automated statistical analysis tools.
  3. Sensitivity Analysis – the way to test model’s sensitivity to different parameters..

Once users will start to deposit their datasets and computations in the Data Warehouse, we will be able to experiment and combine multiple algorithms using ensemble methods to increase their performance. Last but not least we will project a single patient’s data on the existing datasets (using case-based reasoning techniques) and draw some conclusions.

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KICK-OFF MEETING AND WORKSHOP

 The University of Lincoln, which is the main coordinator of the REVAMMAD project, hosted the first gathering of the REVAMMAD project from Nov 26th to Dec 6th, 2013. The medieval city of Lincoln perfectly combines both history and a refreshing international atmosphere due to the university and the big number of students walking in the streets.

The training workshop was conducted at the Think-Tank, located on the campus, where thoughts, impressions and ideas were shared and everybody was able to put a face to each partner’s name. With all participating institutes across Europe and all 12 ESRs from all over the world, this international event presented itself as both an academic and cultural feast to all participants. All young and experienced researchers talked as equals and manifested their interest in Science as well as a firm purpose in contributing to improve the current problems existing in terms of eye health.

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Funded by the European Union, REVAMMAD’s project aims to improve performance in diagnosis, prognosis and prevention of multiple vascular retinal diseases that affect, without distinction, wealthy and developing countries around the world. Because of the interdisciplinary scientific background of the participants, this first introductory module established some basics in the field.

 The word which might best define the content of the course would be eclectic: from the most clinical review of the disease up to the translation into computing technologies and how images can be analyzed, we went through all the perspectives that draw us together as a group.

 Academically, during this workshop, presentations given by PIs from all participating institutes covered a wide range of topics related to retinal vascular modeling, measurement and diagnosis (REVAMMAD). They featured the highlights of retinal image processing and retinal microcirculation modeling from the perspectives of both basic theory and clinical and industrial application. Given the interdisciplinary backgrounds of ESRs, the first workshop was set to lead us to the REVAMMAD world by mainly introducing basic concepts in the presentations.

Besides academic benefits, all ESRs at this workshop also enjoyed the convergence of different ideas from various cultural backgrounds. Here is what one of us ESRs had to say,

“One of the best points of us all meeting together was the fact of a face-to-face interaction through discussion after a copious meal, playing some bowling having a networking day trip. Professional links were strengthened by networking, and were reinforced in the evenings in bars and in front of a beer, as Watson and Crick did in terms of their DNA-structure big hit discovery.”  

 

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For the next three years, more events like this one are going to be held, as well as a continuous remote collaboration between partners at different European research institutes. In conclusion, the first REVAMMAD workshop was a great success in paving the way for a long-term collaboration among all PIs and ESRs involved and for developing a likely distinguished international research network aiming to contribute to the retinal research society in the future.

 

Definitely, we are now a REVAMMAD team!  

By Sergio Crespo

Georgios Leontidis Interview in Radio Siren FM 107.3

Georgios Leontidis, ESR 3.1 Marie Curie Research Fellow was invited to give an interview at the radio Siren Fm 107,3 about the progress of the research in diagnosing Diabetic Retinopathy and talk about the importance of the research conducted. He answered clearly to all the questions from the two hosts and gave to the audience a comprehensive description of the Marie Curie framework, its importance and how it utilises the efforts that are made for revealing the “secrets” of the retinal vasculature and its changes during the progress of Diabetes mellitus. Georgios spoke about the early indications that already has about what exactly happens as the disease starts to penetrate at the retina vessels and why simulation models can be a good way of defining which direction to follow and understand the effect of the altered functional behaviour and heamodynamic parameters to the vessel structure.

You can listen to the interview from the following link.

http://socs.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/siren-fm-interview-how-retinal-imaging-research-could-help-prevent-blindness/