Young UCL Investigator Award in Neuroimaging Techniques
8 January 2008
Dr Josephine Barnes (UCL Institute of Neurology) has been awarded the 2007 Young UCL Investigator Award in Neuroimaging Techniques, the first of these annual awards.
The award has been designed to reward an outstanding contribution to the field of neuroimaging techniques, in the form of a single or multiple achievements, by a young investigator at UCL. Brain Products GmBH, a company specialising in software and electrical products for neurophysiologial research, is sponsoring the prize.
Dr Barnes has focused on the very difficult problem of automatic segmentation of the hippocampus and other regions of interest from within T1-weighted volumetric MR imaging, and in particular has developed and validated novel methods for calculating hippocampal volume change. This has important implications for the ability of neuroscientists to detect and quantify subtle brain atrophy in patients with epilepsy and dementia.
Dr Barnes created a library of templates, derived from previous scans taken of patients with varying severities of Alzheimer's disease, age and gender, which could then be used to find a 'best fit' for the patient in question. The best fit can then be warped with the patient's actual scan and used to illustrate the predicted change in the brain region of interest. She has shown that this can give remarkably robust measurement of hippocampal atrophy rates which would normally require manual segmentation of each scan in a series, with each subject requiring several hours of user input.
Professor Nick Fox (UCL Institute of Neurology), who nominated Dr Barnes, said: "Dr Barnes has not only mastered these technical problems, but has been able to bridge to clinical applications with an understanding of the issues relating to Alzheimer's disease at a biological and clinical level. Dr Barnes has published 16 papers, eight of which are first author, which is impressive in the short time which she has been working as a researcher and student."
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Image: Professor Louis Lemieux (UCL Institute of Neurology) handing the award to Dr Barnes