Experts and researchers discuss cases ranging from foam, lung, skin and liver disease at Quantim workshop

The Quantim workshop in March brought together early researchers and specialists in imaging techniques. The goal was to examine data from five cases ranging from lungs, skin, liver disease and foams, build networks and develop collaborations.

During the workshop, the researchers presented their data to the specialists, who examined it, posed questions, and suggested ways to analyse and work with the material.

– The researchers have the data and the questions. But they need tools to extract images and reflect the information correctly. For example to look at how the distribution of blood changes in the vessel. The specialist can help them with this, by looking at the data, discussing methods and applying them, says Rajmund Mokso, researcher at MAX IV Laboratory, and Solid Mechanics Department, LTH.

He says that there were two clear aims with the workshop. One was to move forward with the cases, for example develop some numbers that tell you something about the study of the lung, skin disease or foam, or to visualise the experiments by developing a pipeline or work flow. The second, maybe more important aim, was to establish collaborations and agreements between the researchers (biologists) and the image analysis specialists.

– How should they collaborate to get further results and workable images? How do we work to get trial results? They need to decide how to move forward, what type of analysis needs to be done, and set up networks.

Vedrana Andersen Dahl, who works with image analysis and geometric modelling at Technical University of Denmark, agrees on the need for further collaborations.

– I was very excited to see which tools the people in the workshop are using in practice. What are they using when they analyse volumes? It’s a short time, two days, but I think it’s important to start a collaboration, and this workshop makes it possible. It’s enough time to determine if the approach is promising.

She has herself developed methods for different applications. One is used for detecting layers, in for example cardboard to see if the thickness is the same as in the simulations used in the factory. The method has also been used to detect layers in 3D-images of bones, to measure the porosity of the bone in layers

– From my side, we would like to see the methods we are developing being used in a more general way, not just for one application. By meeting researchers with different data you can start discussions on how to apply the methods on cases ranging from skin, lungs and foams.

Foam and lungs – examples of cases

Ruth Huijgens, a PhD student in mathematics at Lund University and MAX IV, and Luca Fardin, a PhD student in medicine at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France, were two of the researchers who attended the workshop. Ruth Huijgens brought a case on foam, with the aim of analysing the production process in real time. Foams are used in construction materials and the automobile industry.

– The analysis of the data lags behind on the speed with which data can be acquired. You want the programme to automate the optimal selection of the time step size in the time-series. With better analyzing tools, you can write better code, and subsequently automate the extraction of material features on the selected data.

Luca Fardin brought a set of 3D images of lungs.

– We want to understand how lungs behave when we breathe. Nobody knows exactly how the lungs  deform at the alveolar scale during the respiratory cycle. Alveoli are the smallest lung units, where oxygen is released to the blood.

He says that real time images of the living organ at the alveolar scale, with the heart beating and the lungs filling with air, are needed to create more accurate models of the lung deformation.

– With better models, we could  improve mechanical ventilation for patients in intensive care units, and make more accurate predictions on gas exchange and aerosol deposition, useful for example in inhalation therapy..

Luca Fardin also sees the workshop as an important start:

– The data is so rich in information that one person could never do this on his own. It is essential to keep in touch with the group afterwards. Then you have a network to help you draw further conclusions from the material. That’s more important than what we did during these two days, he concludes.

The Quantim workshop is part of the activities of the working group Quantim. Quantim is part of the Imaging theme.

About the Imaging theme

The Imaging theme covers acquisition, processing and applications in imaging that are relevant to systems using synchrotrons and/or neutron sources. We consider all possible length scales and subjects accessible with modern and future methods.

A picture of foam from PhD Ruth Huijgens ’ research.

A picture of foam from PhD Ruth Huijgens ’ research.

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