UCL Centre for Medical Image Computing


Prof. Yang Xia, Oakland University - CMIC-WEISS seminar series

23 August 2019, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Talk by Prof. Yang Xia, Oakland University - as part of the joint CMIC-WEISS seminar series

Event Information

Open to



cmic-seminars-request@cs.ucl.ac.uk – UCL Centre for Medical Image Computing


Roberts G08 - Sir David Davies LT
Roberts building
Malet Place

Prof. Yang Xia, Oakland University

Title: Seven Blind Mice and an Elephant: The Imaging Science in an Ancient Fable

In this ancient fable, the blind men (in the Chinese version since 202 BC) or the blind mice (in the English version by John G. Saxe since 19th century) try to identify an elephant. Each examines a small region and reaches a different conclusion, a pillar, a snake, a cliff, a spear, a fan, or a rope. One can summarize the tale with a mouse moral: “Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole". The fundamental issues in this ancient fable are common in scientific imaging, where one must compromise among a number of parameters such as resolution, field-of-view, signal-to-noise ratio, and time.


Since 1994 at Oakland University, Professor Xia and his students study articular cartilage using multidisciplinary imaging techniques, including microscopic magnetic resonance imaging (µMRI), polarized light microscopy (PLM), Fourier-transform infrared imaging (FTIRI), microscopic computer tomography (µCT), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Together with biochemical assays and biomechanical testing, we correlate among different biological, chemical, physical properties of the tissue and discriminate among the various possible degradation states of the tissue. We examine the influence of the molecular and microscopic changes on tissue’s functional integrity, providing critical information towards the understanding, and ultimately, management of early arthritic diseases.


Short bio:
Yang Xia completed his MSc (1989) and PhD (1992) dissertation research under the guidance of Paul T Callaghan at the Physics and Biophysics Department of Massey University (New Zealand). The topics of his dissertations were the physics of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the quantitative MRI of polymer dynamics and plant vascular flows at microscopic resolutions. His first experiment on flow and diffusion was published together with the first introduction of q-space concept in MRI in 1988 (J Phys E: Sci Instrum 21, 820, 1988). After a two-year postdoctoral research at Cornell University (Ithaca, New York), Yang joined the Physics Faculty at Oakland University in 1994 and now holds the rank of Distinguished Professor (in Medical Physics). Professor Xia’s research on microscopic imaging has been funded continuously since January 1999 by four 5-year R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).