Information processing for mass spectrometry imaging

Project completed 2013.

Dr Iain Styles, School of Computer Science
Professor Ela Claridge, School of Computer Science
Dr Josephine Bunch, School of Chemistry
Dr Josh Rappoport, School of Biosciences

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the primary cause of blindness in the over 50s, confirmed in diagnosis by retinal imaging using fundus photography, angiography or optical coherence tomography. These are subjective imaging techniques, reliance on the ophthalmologist's skill to evaluate images produced. The challenge is to devise a system that can automatically return quantitative diagnostically relevant information from images of the back of the eye.

The overall aim of this research is to contribute to the development of Multispectral Retinal Image Analysis (MRIA), and particularly the development of novel approaches for monitoring the amount and distribution of macular pigment (MP) present in the retina to assist early detection of AMD. The project will progress iteratively, with data obtained from Mass Spectrometry Imaging (MSI) and MRIA being exchanged between modalities and fuelling further progress.

MSI has a demonstrated ability to produce maps of protein and lipid distributions through tissue volumes. The further development of appropriate MSI techniques to obtain accurate topographical maps of chemical signatures from eye pigments is ground-breaking and complex but if successful will provide a process capable of providing high sensitivity, high resolution and high throughput imaging.

Within MRIA immediate opportunities to alter model parameters, re-optimise inverse models and optimise imaging systems present possibilities to experiment with wavelengths detected and attempt improvements in the rate of image acquisition.

This is a truly multidisciplinary project which will involve optical systems development (instrumentation, calibration), computational analysis and interface programming (Monte Carlo modeling, optimisation, LabView), physics (theoretical and experimental aspects of light interaction with ocular tissues), MSI (sample handling, chemistry) as well as bioscience components (eye anatomy and functionality). All aspect of the project have the potential for development of instrumentation, method and sample handling.

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