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Engineering a Smarter ICU

Date: February 11, 2014

Research by Dr. Suchi Saria, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Health Policy & Management and core faculty member in the Institute for Computational Medicine, was featured in the Winter 2014 Magazine of the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering for her use of machine learning techniques to improve the level of patient care in America's intensive care units (ICUs).

“Using ICUs as her proving ground, Saria is wielding innovative machine learning tools aimed at making the health care delivery environment more ‘intelligent.’ Her project is one of the first funded at Johns Hopkins under a nationwide Moore Foundation initiative to improve patient safety with $500 million in grants over the next decade.

“An assistant professor at the Whiting School and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Saria imagines an ICU where computers equipped with sophisticated algorithms help doctors make more efficient and accurate medical decisions, and where unobtrusive sensors alert hospital staff to potentially harmful errors.”

To read the full story, click here.

Journal of Physiology Article from Trayanova F1000 prime recommended

Date: February 5, 2014

The recent Journal Review article, "Placement of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators in paediatric and congenital heart defect patients: a pipeline for model generation and simulation prediction of optimal configurations", published in the September 1, 2013 issue of The Journal of Physiology 591, has been recommended as being of special significance in its field by Macdonald Dick and Ira Shetty from the F1000 Faculty. From F1000: "The authors developed an innovative non-invasive ('virtual') advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique to reconstruct torso-heart models in order to simulate defibrillation and cardioversion thresholds in complex cardiac malformations… This technique may prove to be useful when faced with one or more of a complex anatomy, a small patient and heart, and the need for life-long multiple replacements of implantable ICDs."

To see the full written recommendation, visit the F1000 Prime website.
Click here to view the full publication abstract.


Dr. Rachel Karchin receives prestigious appointments in cancer research community

Date: January 31, 2014

Dr. Rachel Karchin, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and member of the Institute for Computational Medicine, has received a joint appointment in the Department of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as well as membership in the Cancer Biology Program at The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. These affiliations recognize Dr. Karchin’s productive collaborations with the Hopkins cancer research community.

Congratulations Rachel!

Dr. William Stanley Anderson recently promoted to Associate Professor of Neurosurgery

Date: January 30, 2014

Dr. William Stanley Anderson, a member of the Institute for Computational Medicine core faculty since January 2013, has recently been promoted to Associate Professor of Neurosurgery in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Prior to his arrival at Johns Hopkins in 2011 as Attending Neurosurgeon and Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, Dr. Anderson spent three years as an Instructor of Surgery with Harvard Medical School and Associate Surgeon with The Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In 2013, Dr. Anderson also received a joint appointment with the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Congratulations to Dr. Anderson on this well-deserved promotion!

Johns Hopkins Pediatric Heart News Article Features Research by Dr. Natalia Trayanova

Date: January 27, 2014

Dr. Natalia Trayanova, Murray B. Sachs Professor of Biomedical Engineering and member of the Institute for Computational Medicine was featured in a recent news release in Johns Hopkins Pediatric Heart News. The article, entitled “‘A Better Way to Guide Defibrillator Placement in Children” describes the Trayanova lab's groundbreaking research in pediatric cardiology. The lab seeks to remove the guesswork from the process of placing defibrillators on children born with heart defects through the use of 3-D virtual heart models.

To read the full story, Click Here.

The Scientist Magazine Features Opinion Article by Dr. Natalia Trayanova

Date: January 17, 2014

An opinion article authored by Dr. Natalia Trayanova, Murray B. Sachs Professor of Biomedical Engineering and member of the Institute for Computational Medicine, was featured today in The Scientist Magazine online. The article, entitled “Model Organ: How computer modeling can improve cardiac care”, discusses the Trayanova lab’s use of cutting-edge technology that is poised to revolutionize cardiac care.

The full story can be read on The Scientist website.

Dr. Natalia Trayanova to give a keynote lecture at The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas

Date: January 14, 2014

Natalia A. Trayanova, Murray B. Sachs Professor of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute for Computational Medicine, is scheduled to present a keynote lecture at the 11th Annual Conference of The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas. The conference will be held on January 16-17 at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Lost Pines, Texas. Natalia's presentation entitled “Modeling Cardiac Function and Dysfunction” is scheduled for the beginning of the afternoon session on the 16th.

Click here to view more information about the conference.

To view the abstract of Dr. Trayanova's presentation, click here.

Robert Yaffe awarded a Pre-Doctoral Research Training Fellowship by the Epilepsy Foundation

Date: January 10, 2014

Robert Yaffe, a predoctoral student and member of the Sarma lab, has been awarded a Pre-Doctoral Research Training Fellowship by the Epilepsy Foundation. The Fellowship supports predoctoral students with dissertation research related to epilepsy, thus strengthening their interest in establishing epilepsy research as a career direction. The title for Robert's proposed project is "Development of a Tool for Seizure Foci Localization".

For patients with epilepsy that do not respond to pharmaceutical treatments, the last resort treatment option is a surgical procedure in which the epileptogenic zone (EZ) – the region of the brain that is believed to be the source of the seizures - is removed. First, electrodes are implanted onto the surface of the brain or inserted deep into the brain. This is done to record the electrical activity of the brain while a patient has seizures, so that the exact source of the seizures can be determined. Once the EZ is determined, this area can be surgically resected. Only about 50% of the patients who have this procedure remain seizure-free in the long term. One of the main reasons why this procedure fails is misidentification of the EZ. Currently, trained epileptologists visually inspect hours of electrical recordings without the assistance of any computational tools. In this project, a computational tool will be developed to accurately identify the region of the brain that is responsible for generating seizures in patients with epilepsy. This will greatly improve the effectiveness of surgical resections and decrease the amount of time needed for the pre-surgical evaluation.

Congratulations Robert, and good luck with your research!

Children’s Brain Imaging Data Bank Could Become a Web Tool for Doctors

Date: January 9, 2014

Dr. Michael Miller Portrait
Michael I. Miller

Research by Dr. Michael Miller, Herschel and Ruth Seder Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins, director of the university’s Center for Imaging Science, and core faculty member in the Institute for Computational Medicine, to create a pediatric image data bank was featured today in a Johns Hopkins Press release.

When an MRI scan uncovers an unusual architecture or shape in a child’s brain, it’s cause for concern: The malformation may be a sign of disease. But deciding whether that odd-looking anatomy is worrisome or harmless can be difficult. To help doctors reach the right decision, Johns Hopkins researchers are building a detailed digital library of MRI scans collected from children with normal and abnormal brains. The goal, the researchers say, is to give physicians a Google-like search system that will enhance the way they diagnose and treat young patients with brain disorders.

This cloud-computing project, being developed by a team of engineers and radiologists, should allow physicians to access thousands of pediatric scans to look for some that resemble their own patient’s image. The project is supported by a three-year $600,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health.

“We’re creating a pediatric brain data bank that will let doctors look at MRI brain scans of children who have already been diagnosed with illnesses like epilepsy or psychiatric disorders,” said Michael I. Miller, a lead investigator on the project. “It will provide a way to share important new discoveries about how changes in brain structures are linked to brain disorders. For the medical imaging world, this system will do what a search engine like Google does when you ask it to look for specific information on the Web.”

To read the full story, click here. The story has also been featured in the following news outlets: Baltimore Sun  |  JHU Hub News  |  |  | News  |  CNET News  |  Scope – Published by Stanford Medicine  |  Medical Xpress  |  Johns Hopkins Medicine News  |  Healthcare Informatics  |  Fierce Medical Imaging  |  Healthcare DIVE  |  Newswise  |  OUT-LAW.COM  |  Science Daily  |  The Sleuth Journal  |  in a web video on and also on YouTube.

Lindsay Clegg awarded a National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship

Date: January 2, 2014

Lindsay Clegg, a predoctoral student and member of the Mac Gabhann lab who is working to develop computational models of growth factor diffusion, ligand-receptor interactions, trafficking, and activation, has been awarded a National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship. The NDSEG Fellowship provides full tuition and fees as well as a generous monthly stipend for three years. The NDSEG Fellowship is sponsored by several research programs under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense in support of its commitment to increasing the number and quality of our nation’s scientists and engineers. Just ten percent of applicants to the NDSEG Fellowship program, on average, are selected to receive awards each year.

It should be noted that Lindsay was also successful in her application for the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which also provides a stipend plus substantial tuition support for three years. She declined the NSF award in favor of the NDSEG Fellowship.

Congratulations Lindsay!

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