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Medical Imaging Using Bio-inspired and Soft Computing

Final Report Summary - MIBISOC (Medical Imaging Using Bio-inspired and Soft Computing)

“MIBISOC: Medical Imaging Using Bio-inspired and Soft Computing” is a Marie Curie International Training Network granted by the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Program (FP7 PEOPLE-ITN- 2008).
The general area of this project dealt with the application of intelligent systems constituted by bio-inspired and soft computing (BC, SC) techniques to real-world medical imaging (MI) applications. MI is at the heart of many of today’s improved diagnostic and treatment technologies. Computer-based solutions are vastly more capable of both quantitative measurement of the medical condition and the pre-processing tasks of filtering, sharpening, and focusing image detail. BC-SC are modern artificial intelligence techniques that have been successfully applied in each of the fundamental steps of medical image processing and analysis (e.g. restoration, segmentation, registration or tracking). The natural partnership of humans and intelligent systems and machines in MI is to provide the clinician with powerful tools to take better decisions regarding diagnostic and treatment. In this context, this project aims to surpass the state of the art approaches applying intelligent systems constituted by BC-SC techniques to real-world MI applications.
MIBISOC partnership is composed of high quality scientific members, looking for world-wide recognized researchers and high quality technical partners on each of the addressed area. Direct links between the ITN topics (MI, SC-BC, and SC-BC for MI) and the project partners’ expertise were established, to get together capabilities to face some of the most challenging MI problems by using SC-BC. The network properly balanced the presence of research and technical partners, including companies and hospitals, as well as two SMEs, one of them as full network participant.
MIBISOC clearly promoted the transverse exchange of knowledge among three different disciplines: medicine, imaging, and computing (namely, BC-SC). An interdisciplinary approach, where the different research areas were linked throughout the MI process as well as the role of every research and technical partner, was perfectly defined.
The main goal of the network was to integrate 16 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) for 36 months in eight leading research groups under the umbrella of a formation program in MI using BC and SC to obtain their PhD degree. The ESRs learnt about a number of important MI problems as well as about the tested and emerging BC and SC techniques, and how to develop methods to solve the former problems by means of the latter techniques as well as to design the associated experiments in a rigorous way. In addition, they were taught in other complementary skills such as project management, industrial property, etc., by means of the participation in a strictly coordinated international team activity.
The 16 ESRs followed a methodology that involved both a theoretical and a practical side as the project is focused on training by research. In this way, the outstanding research expertise of the different partners in their respective areas, the practical know-how and the “hands on” scenarios provided by the industrial partners (companies and hospitals), and the experience of all the network participants and associated partners in organizational activities allowed us to implement a high quality training program based on the exchange of knowledge.
The ESRs were trained in acquiring a strong background for the development of intelligent systems based on BC-SC providing more sophisticated and flexible application-oriented solutions to current MI problems in the clinical and research field. Furthermore, a transverse research formation from different industrial sectors: scientific research, technology development, practical uses in hospitals, and companies were provided to them. With this aim, a personalized, exhaustive and complementary career development plan (PCDP) was designed for each of the ESRs, consisting of: i) a personalized research plan based on individual research projects; ii) local and network-wide specific training courses, both in face-to-face and on-line modalities; iii) network’s complementary skills courses, workshops and final conference; and iv) international research stays among the different partners.
32 JCR journals have generated by the ESRs showing the high quality of the formation they received towards the completion of their thesis. Furthermore, a software (demonstrable) of a novel SC-BC solution for a challenging MI problem was provided by Nicola Bova (ECSC). This software can be used for TAN-based medical image segmentation, and it contains a GUI to facilitate as much as possible the interaction with a possible user.
In summary, we can conclude that the exhaustive and interdisciplinary proposed training program allowed providing the European industry with highly qualified researchers able to solve complex MI problems. These researchers will act as promoters of new scientific knowledge and technological applications in hospitals, healthcare providers, and technological companies.
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