Kimberlin van Wijnen wins the 2019 IMDI Talent Prize

Friday, November 29, 2019

Because of her groundbreaking research into the automatic detection of dilated perivascular spaces, Kimberlin van Wijnen received the IMDI ​​Talent Prize 2019 during the IMDI ​​Congress on Wednesday. Van Wijnen was nominated by the Medical Delta Imaging Institute.

The IMDI ​​Talent Prize is rewarded to the best graduation research on a new medical device and/or an associated e-Health application. The IMDI ​​Talent Fund awards an annual prize of € 1,500 for this to be freely spent.

Automatic detection of brain damage signals

Van Wijnen conducted her graduation research at the Erasmus MC Biomedical Imaging Group Rotterdam as part of her Master in Biomedical Engineering at Delft University of Technology. She graduated Cum Laude.

Her research focused on the automatic detection of dilated perivascular spaces, also referred to as dilated ‘Virchow-Robin spaces’ - an important and early characteristic of vascular brain damage. Techniques that were previously proposed by other researchers are often not applicable in clinical practice because they require very time-consuming, fully manual annotations. Other techniques provide only limited information such as only an estimate of the number of dilated perivascular spaces, but not their location and volume. This method solves an important bottleneck for research into the role of these structural brain changes in dementia and strokes.

Alternative with ‘deep learning’

Van Wijnen came up with a viable alternative, in which a relatively small number of inexpensive examples can be used to train a robust ‘deep learning’ model, resulting in highly accurate detection. She made this possible with a smart combination of three factors. Van Wijnen extensively validated the approach she proposed for more than two thousand MRI scans, with which she could demonstrate that the resulting automatic detection is just as accurate as that of an expert.

IMDI published a digital magazine about the Talent Prize with more information about Van Wijnen's research. This magazine can be read here (only in Dutch).

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