Overall Objectives
Research Program
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Research Program

Medical Image Analysis

The quality of biomedical images tends to improve constantly (better spatial and temporal resolution, better signal to noise ratio). Not only are the images multidimensional (3 spatial coordinates and possibly one temporal dimension), but medical protocols tend to include multisequence (or multiparametric) (Multisequence (or multiparametric) imaging consists in acquiring several images of a given patient with the same imaging modality (e.g. MRI, CT, US, SPECT, etc.) but with varying acquisition parameters. For instance, using MRI, patients followed for multiple sclerosis may undergo every six months a 3D multisequence MR acquisition protocol with different pulse sequences (called T1, T2, PD, Flair, etc.): by varying some parameters of the pulse sequences (e.g Echo Time and Repetition Time), images of the same regions are produced with quite different contrasts depending on the nature and function of the observed structures. In addition, one of the acquisitions (T1) can be combined with the injection of a contrast product (typically Gadolinium) to reveal vessels and some pathologies. Diffusion Tensor Images (DTI) can be acquired to measure the self diffusion of protons in every voxel, allowing the measurement for instance of the direction of white matter fibers in the brain (the same principle can be used to measure the direction of muscular fibers in the heart). Functional MRI of the brain can be acquired by exploiting the so-called Bold Effect (Blood Oxygen Level Dependency): slightly higher blood flow in active regions creates a subtle higher T2* signal which can be detected with sophisticated image processing techniques.) and multi-modal images (Multimodal acquisition consists in acquiring from the same patient images of different modalities, in order to exploit their complementary nature. For instance, CT and MR may provide information on the anatomy (CT providing contrast between bones and soft tissues while MR within soft tissues of different nature) while SPECT and PET images may provide functional information by measuring a local level of metabolic activity.) for each single patient.

Despite remarkable efforts and advances during the past twenty years, the central problems of segmentation and registration have not been solved in the general case. It is our objective in the short term to work on specific versions of these problems, taking into account as much a priori information as possible on the underlying anatomy and pathology at hand. It is also our objective to include more knowledge of the physics of image acquisition and observed tissues, as well as of the biological processes involved. Therefore the research activities mentioned in this section will incorporate the advances made in Computational Anatomy and Computational Physiology, as described in sections  3.3 and  3.4 .

We plan to pursue our efforts on the following problems: