On 12-13 April 2018, the Centre for Medical Image Computing (CMIC) hosted a Placenta Imaging Workshop to bring together the most exciting recent research into placenta imaging in the UK.
Over the two days, attendees heard talks from 13 world-leading experts from universities across the UK and Paris. The first speaker, Prof Anna David, Director of the UCL Institute for Women’s Health, set the tone for the workshop by highlighting the often-overlooked importance of the placenta as an organ, "The placenta is a fascinating organ that functions as a respiratory, renal, hepatic, endocrine and vascular system for the developing fetus. We are all here as the product of a successful placenta.”
Further talks highlighted the benefits and disadvantages of different methods of imaging the placenta such as ultrasound, MicroCT, functional MRI and multiscale 3D imaging, others took a more in-depth look at particular research like The Placenta Imaging Project and ways that monitoring the placenta could improve antenatal care. The second day of the workshop finished the talks with a lively debate and panel discussion about the future direction of placenta imaging research.
The workshop provided lots of opportunities for engineers, clinicians and medical experts in the field to network and exchange ideas, with a key part of the workshop being the evening networking social and poster session.
Attendees had the chance to explore over 20 posters with subjects ranging from the movement of blood within the placenta to the efficient segmentation of fetal fMRI using deep learning tools. UCL public engagement specialists also presented a poster, encouraging attendees to learn more about how to engage patients and the public with their research, creating spaces for mutual learning and dialogue.
Workshop organiser Dr. Andrew Melbourne described the workshop as “a fantastic opportunity for researchers at all imaging scales and from multiple disciplines to come together to learn more about what is an amazing, bit relatively little understood organ.”
The Placenta Image Workshop was organised by GIFT-Surg investigators, Dr Andrew Melbourne and Dr Rosalind Aughwane and Placenta Imaging Project researcher Dr Paddy Slator.