The REtinal VAscular Modeling, Measurement And Diagnosis (REVAMMAD) project is training a new generation of scientists able to effectively translate the latest vascular modeling theory and computerized image analysis techniques into effective interventions for some of the most important chronic medic conditions afflicting the EU, including hypertension and diabetes. It will particularly ensure that there is rich clinical and industrial involvement to ensure that the training is focused with end-users and exploitation in mind.
The vasculature undergoes changes in response to early stages of these diseases, reflecting fundamental physiological processes within the vessels. The retina provides a unique “window onto the vasculature,” allowing it to be viewed and measurements made in vivo, and advances in imaging technologies make it increasingly possible to measure subtle changes using computer vision algorithms, including through routine medical checks such as eye tests.
The field is currently fragmented, with many excellent pockets of collaboration focused on defined specialisms, particularly between clinicians and modelers, or clinicians and measurement specialists, but lacking overall structure. Despite the importance and incidence of the diseases and the evidence for the possibility of better diagnosis through imaging, there has been relatively little translation of theory into clinical practice. Integrative action is required to train researchers who understand the medical, clinical, technological and commercial aspects of the problem domain and to establish common working methodologies and tools across the field.
Objectives of the research programme
- To train a cohort of ESRs with a deep understanding of the vasculature, its fundamental structure and properties, its flow dynamics, and of the theoretical, modelling and image analysis methods available to model and measure it, so that they may develop future automated interventions for vascular disease and future fundamental research;
- To integrate these skills to advance fundamental theory and knowledge of the vasculature by developing new vascular models validated using the empirical data drawn from vascular measurement studies, to provide a theoretical basis to support future research into physiology and disease and the role of vasculature in this;
- To utilise these new understandings to develop new techniques leading to effective clinical interventions by combining state-of-the-art vascular modelling, measurement and clinical understanding to enhance diagnosis and disease prevention;
- To ensure the clinical and commercial relevance of all REVAMMAD research projects and to generate real impacts from the project, including patents, and licensing or spin-outs to exploit technology in the health sector;
- To construct a data warehouse that allows relevant data including images and clinical assessments to be deposited, together with software components for modelling and image analysis, with defined data exchange and application programming interfaces, allowing comparative studies of methods, algorithms and data sets and supporting a service-based exploitation model;
- To combine the above to develop an interoperable toolset for vascular modelling and analysis that will support projects across REVAMMAD and be used beyond the project lifetime.