Multi-modal retinal biomarkers for vascular dementia: developing enabling image analysis tools

Lead Research Organisation: University of Dundee
Department Name: Computing

Abstract

Dementia is a devastating disease. It has catastrophic implications for affected individuals, their family, wider society, and heavy, increasing costs for the NHS. Detecting subjects at increased risk of developing dementia in the future, and detecting adverse risk at the earliest stages of dementia, may present opportunities to preserve brain function and delay disease progression.

There is increasing recognition that degeneration of brain blood vessels plays a role in the development of dementia. It is therefore important to identify patients likely to present such degeneration as early as possible, as they may require special treatment and the disease progress can be delayed.

There is also strong clinical evidence that the brain blood vessels are related to those in the retina, the part of the eye responsible for the first stage of human vision. The retina is checked routinely by high-street opticians, hence retinal images (fundus photography and optical coherence tomography, now both available on a single device) could provide an inexpensive, non-invasive procedure capable of capturing early signs of dementia or those at high risk of developing dementia. It would exploit widely available existing examinations and be deployable immediately. Hence the potential impact of a retinal test for dementia signs would be huge.

The central question is whether the retina can provide (a) reliable biomarkers (signs) for future risk of dementia, and (b) sensitive biomarkers of disease progression of either cognitive decline or brain vessels degeneration. Our purpose is to develop enabling technologies based on image analysis to identify such biomarkers, using easily accessible retinal features (supporting an uninvasive, inexpensive, easily accessible and high-specificity test), and joint brain-retina features (a larger-scope investigation motivated by the affinity of small vessels of brain and retina).

We shall validate the technologies in a pilot study in collaboration with the specialist units at the University Hospitals of Dundee and Edinburgh, including ophthalmology, brain imaging, and cognitive ageing and cognitive epidemiology. Our research is supported by the Alzheimer's Society.

Planned Impact

== Users and beneficiaries outside academia
These include the NHS (General Practitioners and hospital services) ; opticians; society in general; individual patients and their families through increased availability of a simple screening tool for brain health. Rapid access to early diagnosis of vascular and brain 'health' via an easily accessible test has the potential to improve health and empower the public. Prevention of dementia, and also of stroke
and cognitive impairment is a Government priority and methods to identify subjects at high risk of
future dementia are urgently needed. Preservation of brain has a far better chance of preventing
cognitive decline and dementia than attempting to reverse the dementia after symptom onset.
== Towards societal impact
Dementia is estimated to cost ~£16-20 billion in the UK and rising; caring for affected patients
places an additional drain on carers, and social and health services that is difficult to quantify.
By the time cognition is measurably affected, it may already be too late.
Many dementia assessment tools have focused on Alzheimer's Dementia,
but vascular disease is responsible for up to 45% of dementias and may require tools
sensitive to vascular changes as well as to the effects on the brain structure and cognition.
Our integrated approach to assessing vascular and neural components of the retina and of the brain
offers a superb chance of capturing relevant changes at a time when intervention would have a better chance of working. Keeping even a small proportion of people out of nursing homes or hospital or in work will have a major effect on society as a whole.
== Towards economic impact
Delaying dementia onset by 5 years could reduce costs by half, saving up to £10 billion a year;
but even delaying dementia onset by 1 year could save several billions per year to
society, health services, patients and families individual budgets, and maintain dignity by keeping
people in their own homes. This money could be put into developing better
education, health services, and avoiding the inevitable substantial personal financial losses linked with dementia in a family.
== Public engagement
"Seeing into the brain" from the High Street (retinal imaging by optometrists) has immediate public
resonance and will be an important message to promote. We have wide experience with
public engagement: the Knowledge Transfer Officers of Edinburgh
Neuroscience, Imaging, and in the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive
Epidemiology are all very experienced in public engagement; and the dedicated
CCACE knowledge exchange officer will be available to assist the project. He has led, for example, science festival events, schools workshops, collaborations with artists, writers, and playrights, and
led the commercialisation of products for the diagnosis of dementia and delirium.
The Dundee Revealing Research office will assist via public lectures (e.g., the Dundee Saturday Evening Lectures, now in its 90th year), and several other routes.
The Alzheimer Society has offered their support for dissemination, including use of their Annual
Research Conference (see attached letter of support).
== Translation
Translation is the final stage in our 3-part vision: (1) tools development (this project), (2) large-scale trial, (3) translation. Retinal imaging tools developed in this project will
need to undergo extensive testing in independent cohorts and populations to determine their true
applicability (stage 2); both Edinburgh and Dundee undertake large clinical trials and have
accredited Clinical Trials Units that can manage them. Translation and commercialization (stage 3) will be assisted by the relevant offices at the two universities. The Univ of Dundee Research and Innovation Services, the University of Edinburgh BioQuarter and Edinburgh University's Edinburgh Research provides help on all aspects of commercialization.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description By the end of the grant period we accumulated enough measurements on the 3 main clinical data sets available to the project (LBC1936, GoDARTS, MSS) to be able to run studies (statistical analysis via structural equation models and machine learning) on the associations between retinal vasculature, brain measurements/scores, and dementia. The final results support the hypothesis that retinal vasculature features (e.g. fractal dimension, summative measurements linked to vessel calibre) do associate significantly with brain measures, in turn linked in the literature with risk of dementia or stroke. Interestingly, a consistent group of retinal features seems associated with a variety of outcomes in parallel projects in our groups, e.g. adverse cardiovascular events (GoDARTS bioresource, n >2,000), and a GWAS study (results replicated in several independent cohorts). These findings were consolidated in the last 5 months of the project (within the limits of our datasets) and used as platform for follow-up funded research. This includes a £7M NIHR Global Health Program grant (Scotland-India) on precision medicine for diabetes.
Exploitation Route Our findings has contributed to the international effort to identify risk scores for dementia (vascular, in our case) and also, in work overlapping with this project, adverse cardiovascular events. Importantly, the data in the LBC1936 cohort in Edinburgh (Prof Ian Deary) can be obtained (under rules stipulated by the data manager at CCACE, Univ of Edinburgh) for independent analysis. Similarly for GoDARTS, access to which is at the moment limited by formal collaborative agreements.
The platform and visibility put in place in the project have generated wide interest in the methodology and tools developed in the project. We can mention new collaborations on retinal image biomarkers with various clinical centres, including at the Universities of Leeds, UCL/Moorfields, Charite' Berlin (Germany), tand MacMaster University (CAN), as well as Dr Mohan's Diabetes Speciality Hospitals and Madras Diabetes Research Center (the last two partners in the £7M NIHR Global Health Program grant) as direct products of the results of this project.
Sectors Healthcare

URL https://www.research.ed.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/quantitative-measurements-of-enlarged-perivascular-spaces-in-the-brain-are-associated-with-retinal-microvascular-parameters(a501d8ec-9eea-4171-9c72-6d6d0284ac8c)/export.html
 
Description The software developed in the project (VAMPIRE suite) is now in use in a number of laboratory around the world working on retinal image biomarkers for eye-specific as well as systemic conditions. In particular, since last ResearchFish deadline we have now published studies linking retinal measurements with the genome, and grown the community of clinical centres using VAMPIRE.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Healthcare
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description "Perivascular spaces: an early marker of vascular contributions to neurodegeneration": JM Wardlaw (PI), S Black, G-J Biessels, F Chappell, MV Hernandez, L Ballerini, J Ramirez, H Kuijf.
Amount £39,768,500 (GBP)
Funding ID UB190097 
Organisation Weston Brain Institute 
Sector Private
Country Canada
Start 04/2020 
End 03/2021
 
Description BHF Research Excellence Award
Amount £3,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation British Heart Foundation (BHF) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2019 
End 04/2024
 
Description BHF-Turing Cardiovascular Data Science Award "Uncovering retinal microvascular predictors of compromised brain haemodynamics in small vessel disease"; MO Bernabeu Llinares, JM Wardlaw, SJ Wiseman, T MacGillivray, R Sarkar, F Doubal
Amount £110,000 (GBP)
Funding ID BHF-Turing-19/2/1038 
Organisation British Heart Foundation (BHF) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2019 
End 12/2021
 
Description MRC VAMPIRE Web app
Amount £86,000 (GBP)
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description NIHR Global Health Program
Amount £7,000,000 (GBP)
Organisation National Institute for Health Research 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2022
 
Description Subcontract QUB-MRC
Amount £160,000 (GBP)
Organisation Queen's University Belfast 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2016 
End 04/2017
 
Title VAMPIRE software suite 
Description Please note, the drop-down menu does not contain a suitable category. The VAMPIRE software suite is a collection of software tools developed by the VAMPIRE research group (UoDundee and UoEdinburgh). VAMPIRE (Vessel Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the REtina) is a research initiative started by Prof Trucco and Dr Tom MacGillivray (UoEdinburgh) in 2002; among others, VAMPIRE has generated algorithms and software tools for semi-automatic quantification of morphometric properties of the retinal vasculature. The main VAMPIRE tools operate currently on fundus camera images and ultra-wide-field-of-view SLO images. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Our software, currently in pre-commercial stage, is used to investigate retinal biomarkers for a wide array of diseases, both eye specific (e.g. glaucoma, AION-NAION) and systemic (e.g. dementia, CVD, complications of diabetes) as well as genetics. VAMPIRE tools are in use in clinical research units around the world, including the UK, the USA, Europe, India and South America. We receive several new requests per month from interested parties, making it now necessary to consider a spin-off. 
URL http://vampire.computing.dundee.ac.uk
 
Title Dementia Bioresource 
Description In the first year of the EPSRC project, CI Doney and the research nurse employed (R Bittern) accessed the Ninewells patient data archives to validate dementia diagnosis, resulting in a large (by current standard: n=1,232 with dementia) cross-linked data set. All patients feature in the GoDARTS bioresource (http://diabetesgenetics.dundee.ac.uk/, n > 116,000 of which >9,400 diabetics). We have now a unique resource including retinal images, OCT, physiological data, prescriptions, radiological images for a subset of patients, many of which longitudinal (eg retinal images exist for several time points thank to the local diabetic retinopathy screening program). The bioresource is being used for the main questions in the EPSRC project (associations btw markers in the retina, in the brain, and dementia). 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None as yet. 
 
Description CCACE EPSRC eye-brain dementia 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department MRC Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Development and provision of retinal image analysis software (VAMPIRE) for measurement of the retinal fundus images in the Lothian Birth Cohort (scientist in charge of bioresource : Prof Ian Deary, Univ of Edinburgh). Networking with further partners. Creation of further research opportunities.
Collaborator Contribution Access to LBC data and images; statistical analysis; definition of hypotheses; networking with further partners; creation of further research opportunities
Impact Multi-disciplinary: computer science, biomedical image analysis, cognitive science, health and ageing, brain sciences.
Start Year 2012
 
Description CCBR EPSRC eye-brain dementia 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences (CCBS)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of measurements of the retinal vasculature as possible biomarkers for dementia and cerebral vascular anomalies. Expertise on machine learning and computer vision to advance the definition and analysis of brain features as measured in MRI and CT data. Access to further collaboration opportunities.
Collaborator Contribution Access to clinical data and images (under the necessary permissions and agreements eg ethics, anonymization etc). Clinical expertise. Statistical anaysis. Access to further collaboration opportunities.
Impact Multi-disciplinary: computer science, biomedica image analysis, neurosciences, brain-related clinical expertise, medical statistics, machine learning.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Fondation Leducq Transatlantic Network of Excellence 
Organisation University of Copenhagen
Country Denmark 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We contributed to the funding of this transatlantic network to investigate the role of the perivascular space in small vessel disease. We have developed 2 joint protocols for clinical studies with the partners in this network to investigate cerebral small vessel disease in patients with sleep apnoe and patients with lacunar stroke. edinburhg provided the experise in advanced imaging
Collaborator Contribution The University of Toronto and the University of Southern California provided expertise in imaging, cognition and sleep studies in the development of the protocols for the clinical studies that are now actively recruiting patients.
Impact Multidiscipilinary, studies have been set up, exchanges of junior research staff organised, this has led to joint publications and will lead to publications and future research applications.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Fondation Leducq Transatlantic Network of Excellence 
Organisation University of Southern California
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We contributed to the funding of this transatlantic network to investigate the role of the perivascular space in small vessel disease. We have developed 2 joint protocols for clinical studies with the partners in this network to investigate cerebral small vessel disease in patients with sleep apnoe and patients with lacunar stroke. edinburhg provided the experise in advanced imaging
Collaborator Contribution The University of Toronto and the University of Southern California provided expertise in imaging, cognition and sleep studies in the development of the protocols for the clinical studies that are now actively recruiting patients.
Impact Multidiscipilinary, studies have been set up, exchanges of junior research staff organised, this has led to joint publications and will lead to publications and future research applications.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Fondation Leducq Transatlantic Network of Excellence 
Organisation University of Toronto
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We contributed to the funding of this transatlantic network to investigate the role of the perivascular space in small vessel disease. We have developed 2 joint protocols for clinical studies with the partners in this network to investigate cerebral small vessel disease in patients with sleep apnoe and patients with lacunar stroke. edinburhg provided the experise in advanced imaging
Collaborator Contribution The University of Toronto and the University of Southern California provided expertise in imaging, cognition and sleep studies in the development of the protocols for the clinical studies that are now actively recruiting patients.
Impact Multidiscipilinary, studies have been set up, exchanges of junior research staff organised, this has led to joint publications and will lead to publications and future research applications.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Horizon 2020 - Small vessel diseases in a mechanistic perspective: Targets for Intervention - Affected pathways and mechanistic exploitation for prevention of stroke and dementia 
Organisation Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU Munich)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution EU funded series of preclinical and clinical studies investigating the causes of cerebral small vessel disease and their impact in stroke and dementia. We led on developing and implementing and exporting advanced MRI imaging techniques in the development of the protocols of the studies that are now actively recruiting.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners led on different aspects of the projects from drug management to imaging.
Impact PUblications, future research grant applictions
Start Year 2015
 
Description Horizon 2020 - Small vessel diseases in a mechanistic perspective: Targets for Intervention - Affected pathways and mechanistic exploitation for prevention of stroke and dementia 
Organisation Maastricht University (UM)
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution EU funded series of preclinical and clinical studies investigating the causes of cerebral small vessel disease and their impact in stroke and dementia. We led on developing and implementing and exporting advanced MRI imaging techniques in the development of the protocols of the studies that are now actively recruiting.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners led on different aspects of the projects from drug management to imaging.
Impact PUblications, future research grant applictions
Start Year 2015
 
Description Horizon 2020 - Small vessel diseases in a mechanistic perspective: Targets for Intervention - Affected pathways and mechanistic exploitation for prevention of stroke and dementia 
Organisation University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC)
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution EU funded series of preclinical and clinical studies investigating the causes of cerebral small vessel disease and their impact in stroke and dementia. We led on developing and implementing and exporting advanced MRI imaging techniques in the development of the protocols of the studies that are now actively recruiting.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners led on different aspects of the projects from drug management to imaging.
Impact PUblications, future research grant applictions
Start Year 2015
 
Description Horizon 2020 - Small vessel diseases in a mechanistic perspective: Targets for Intervention - Affected pathways and mechanistic exploitation for prevention of stroke and dementia 
Organisation University of Oxford
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution EU funded series of preclinical and clinical studies investigating the causes of cerebral small vessel disease and their impact in stroke and dementia. We led on developing and implementing and exporting advanced MRI imaging techniques in the development of the protocols of the studies that are now actively recruiting.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners led on different aspects of the projects from drug management to imaging.
Impact PUblications, future research grant applictions
Start Year 2015
 
Description MacMaster Univ (CAN): discovery of retinal vascular biomarkers in a Canadian cohort 
Organisation McMaster University
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Availability, support and adaptation of VAMPIRE software tools for quantification of morphometric parameters of the retinal vasculature observed in fundus camera images. Access to our expertise on retinal image and data analysis.
Collaborator Contribution Local access to large Canadian cohort of images and linked data for VAMPIRE analysis. Support to install and run VAMPIRE software in Canadian safe haven.
Impact None so far.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Moorfields UCL Eye Hospital 
Organisation Moorfields Eye Hospital
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution Development of an on-line prototype crowdsourcing system for diabetic retinopathy grading.
Collaborator Contribution Research question, clinical input and advice, patient images.
Impact D Mitry, K Zutis, B Dhillon, T Peto, S Hayat, K-T Khaw, J E Morgan, W Moncur, E Trucco, P J Foster, UK Biobank Eye and Vision Consortium: The accuracy and reliability of crowdsource annotations of digital retinal images. Translational Vision Science and Technology vol 5 no 5, Sep 2016.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Moorfields/UCL analysis of FD of the retinal vasculature in UKBB fundus images 
Organisation Moorfields Eye Hospital
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution Availability and adaptation of the VAMPIRE software suite to generate automatically quality assessments and estimates of the fractal dimension of the retinal vasculature observed in fundus camera images.
Collaborator Contribution Access to Moorfields image repository, consultant and (clinical) PhD student time, running VAMPIRE software on local machines.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2020
 
Description NANO 
Organisation Queen's University Belfast
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution NANO (Northern Alliance for Neurodegerative Ophthalmology) is a consortium bringing together opthalmologists, psychiatrists, retinal image analysis specialists (the VAMPIRE group) and brain science researchers. Participating institutions are the University of Belfast, Dundee and Edinburgh. The aim is to develop cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on retinal and brain biomarker for neurodegenerative conditions, primarily dementia, robustify diagnosis, and estimate risk as early as possible. NANO leverages an array of cohorts and bioresources in which participants are involved, including PREVENT, GoDARTS, UK Biobank and others.
Collaborator Contribution The EPSRC project has been a determinant factor for the creation of NANO, has project work and its dissemination have created the visibility needed to catalyze the NANO consortium.
Impact NANO is a strongly multidisciplinary initiative. Its recent creation has not led to truly collaborative publications, although subgroups of participants have published together several times in visible international journals and refereed conferences.
Start Year 2016
 
Description NANO 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department Scottish Microelectronics Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution NANO (Northern Alliance for Neurodegerative Ophthalmology) is a consortium bringing together opthalmologists, psychiatrists, retinal image analysis specialists (the VAMPIRE group) and brain science researchers. Participating institutions are the University of Belfast, Dundee and Edinburgh. The aim is to develop cutting-edge interdisciplinary research on retinal and brain biomarker for neurodegenerative conditions, primarily dementia, robustify diagnosis, and estimate risk as early as possible. NANO leverages an array of cohorts and bioresources in which participants are involved, including PREVENT, GoDARTS, UK Biobank and others.
Collaborator Contribution The EPSRC project has been a determinant factor for the creation of NANO, has project work and its dissemination have created the visibility needed to catalyze the NANO consortium.
Impact NANO is a strongly multidisciplinary initiative. Its recent creation has not led to truly collaborative publications, although subgroups of participants have published together several times in visible international journals and refereed conferences.
Start Year 2016
 
Description QUB contract GoDARTS 
Organisation Queen's University Belfast
Department Centre for Public Health (CPH)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Development and use of the VAMPIRE software platform to measure 8-10,000 retinal images from the GoDARTS bioresources (Dundee) and provision of formatted data for statistical analysis of association with various outcomes and clinical parameters (to be performed by QUB)
Collaborator Contribution Statistical analysis of data provided; integration of contract work within larger context of large, collaborative MRC project coordinated by QUB.
Impact Gareth J McKay, Euan N Paterson, Alexander P Maxwell, Christopher C Cardwell, Ruixuan Wang, Stephen Hogg, Thomas J MacGillivray, Emanuele Trucco, Alexander S Doney: Retinal Microvascular Parameters Are Not Associated With Reduced Renal Function In A Study Of Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes. Scientific Reports, final acceptance 22 Feb 2018.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Queens University Belfast 
Organisation Queen's University Belfast
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Software development, novel algorithms for retinal image analysis, morphometric measurements of the retinal vasculature as observed in fundus camera images and ultra-wide-field-of-view images, machine learning methods for data analysis.
Collaborator Contribution Provisions of images from clinical trials, cross-linked patient data, research questions, clinical and population science input informing the development of retinal image analysis software and algorithms
Impact McCarter RV, McKay GJ, Quinn NB, Chakravarthy U, MacGillivray TJ,2 Robertson G, Pellegrini E, Trucco E, Williams MC, Peto T, Dhillon B, van Beek EJR, Newby DE, Kee F, Young IS, Hogg RE: Evaluation of Coronary Artery Disease as a Risk Factor for Reticular Pseudodrusen. British Journal of Ophthalmology, Published Online First: 19 August 2017. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2017-310526. Gareth J McKay, EN Paterson, AP Maxwell, CC Cardwell, R Wang, S Hogg, TJ MacGillivray, E Trucco, AS Doney: Retinal microvascular parameters are not associated with reduced glomerular filtration rate in a prospective study of individuals with type 2 diabetes. 53rd Annual Meeting of the European Society for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), Lisbon, 2017. McCarter RV, McKay GJ, MacGillivray T, Robertson G, Pellegrini P, Trucco E, Williams M, Peto T, Dhillon B, van Beek E, Newby D, Hogg RE: Evaluation of Cardiovascular Disease as a Risk Factor for Sight Threatening Reticular Drusen. Scottish Cardiovascular Forum, 2016. Gareth J McKay, Euan N Paterson, Alexander P Maxwell, Christopher C Cardwell, Ruixuan Wang, Stephen Hogg, Thomas J MacGillivray, Emanuele Trucco, Alexander S Doney: Retinal Microvascular Parameters Are Not Associated With Reduced Renal Function In A Study Of Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes. Scientific Reports, final acceptance 22 Feb 2018. McCarter RV, McKay GJ, Quinn NB, Chakravarthy U, MacGillivray TJ,2 Robertson G, Pellegrini E, Trucco E, Williams MC, Peto T, Dhillon B, van Beek EJR, Newby DE, Kee F, Young IS, Hogg RE: Evaluation of Coronary Artery Disease as a Risk Factor for Reticular Pseudodrusen. British Journal of Ophthalmology, Published Online First: 19 August 2017. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2017-310526. A E Fetit, S Manivannan, S McGrory, L Ballerini, A J Doney, T MacGillivray, I J Deary, J M Wardlaw, F Doubal, G J McKay, S J McKenna, E Trucco. Retinal Biomarker Discovery for Dementia in an Elderly Diabetic Population. Proc MICCAI International Workshop OMIA-4, Springer, 2017.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Retinal data collaboration with McMaster University 
Organisation McMaster University
Country Canada 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Research design
Collaborator Contribution Developing research proposals for submission for funding
Impact NA
Start Year 2019
 
Title The VAMPIRE software tool suite 
Description The VAMPIRE software suite is a collection of software tools developed by the VAMPIRE research group (UoDundee and UoEdinburgh). VAMPIRE (Vessel Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the REtina) is a research initiative started by Prof Trucco and Dr Tom MacGillivray (UoEdinburgh) in 2002; among others, VAMPIRE has generated algorithms and software tools for semi-automatic quantification of morphometric properties of the retinal vasculature. The main VAMPIRE tools operate currently on fundus camera images and ultra-wide-field-of-view SLO images. The suite comprises an annotation tool for retinal images (available from our website by signing an agreement), a stand-alone package for semi-automatic analysis of retinal fundus camera images (VAMPIRE 3.1), and a web version (VAMPIRE-WEB) enabling users to work remotely without the need of installing software. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact Our software, currently in pre-commercial stage, is used to investigate retinal biomarkers for a wide array of diseases, both eye specific (e.g. glaucoma, AION-NAION) and systemic (e.g. dementia, CVD, complications of diabetes) as well as genetics. VAMPIRE tools are in use in clinical research units around the world, including the UK, the USA, Europe, India and South America. We receive several new requests per month from interested parties, making it now necessary to consider a spin-off We have a long list of interdisciplinary publications that bear witness to the impact of VAMPIRE tools on international research on retinal biomarkers. 
URL http://vampire.computing.dundee.ac.uk/publications
 
Title VAMPIRE 3.1 
Description VAMPIRE (Vessel Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the REtina) is an international initiative led by EPSRC PI Trucco (Univ of Dundee) and EPSRC CI MacGillivray (Univ of Edinburgh). The flagship software package, VAMPIRE 3.1 (current version), is a semi-automatic package developed by Dundee and Edinburgh since the early 2000s, generating currently 130 measurements quantifying the morphometry of the eye microvasculature. VAMPIRE software allows efficient processing (measuring) of large quantities of images; for a trained operator following the standard batch-mode protocol, an image is analysed in about 4'. Measurements includes standard ones as defined in the literature (AVR, CRAE, CRVE, tortuosity). The EPSRC project has allowed us to move from VAMPIRE 2.0 to VAMPIRE 3.1, adding significantly innovative features like improved artery-vein classification, segmentation of vascular trees emanating from the optic disc, and speed-up of key modules (eg A-V classification). 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact VAMPIRE 3.1 is not commercially available, but has achieved international visibility and has been made available to clinical research groups in the UK (Queen's University Belfast) and France (Univ of Lyon) after a 3-day training program. Further clinical groups have asked for VAMPIRE measurements of images made available to us (eg from the University of Malaysia, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Institut Oftalmologia Clinica Girona, and others). In addition, a publicly available annotation tools for fundus retinal images is available on the VAMPIRE website (vampire.computing.dundee.ac.uk). 
 
Title VAMPIRE: Vessel Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the REtina 
Description VAMPIRE is a suite of software tools for the analysis of retinal images. It has been developed within the VAMPIRE research initiative of the Universities of Dundee (Prof Emauele Trucco) and Edinburgh (Dr Tom MacGillivray). Two VAMPIRE tools are licensed for research use: (1) a manual annotation tool, allowing mostly manual measurements of a small set of retinal features (e.g. vessel width, optic disc position / size, macula centre position, bifurcation angles); (2) a semi-automatic full package (currently VAMPIRE 3.2), generating 151 measurements per fundus camera image, requiring attendance to our operator training module. In option (2), only the training module is charged to cover costs and the software released within a collaborative framework, i.e. after agreeing a line of collaborative research. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact VAMPIRE has gained international visibility and is in use in a number of UK and international centres working on retinal biomarkers, including Moorfields/UCL, the Universities of Leeds, Edinburgh (various clinical groups), Dundee (precision medicine, molecular and clinical medicine), Queen's University Belfast, the Royal College of Veterinaries, Charite' Berlin, University of Texas a Houston, UCLA, University of Grenoble, Universidad del Valle (Cali, Colombia), McMaster Univ (Canada), 
URL http://vampire.computing.dundee.ac.uk/
 
Description Dr Tom MacGillivray gave a short presentation to primary school children - "Looking into the eye to see the brain" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Dr Tom MacGillivray gave a short presentation to primary 1 at South Morningside Primary School in Edinburgh explaining how the eye can be used to examine brain health on 7 Feb 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Dr Tom MacGillivray invited lecture - "Image processing and analysis: issues and successes" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Dr Tom MacGillivray was invited to give a lecture for Queen's University Belfast's Student Selected Component Year 3 Spring Semester course title "Imaging and image processing in medicine" on 25 January 2018. The talk was "Image processing and analysis: issues and successes".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited seminar, St Andrews Univ 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact TITLE
Retinal image analysis and beyond in Scotland: the VAMPIRE project

ABSTRACT
This talk is an overview of the VAMPIRE (Vessel Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the REtina) project, an international and interdisciplinary research initiative created and led by the Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh in Scotland, UK, since the early 2000s. VAMPIRE research focuses on the eye as a source of biomarkers for systemic diseases (e.g. cardiovascular, diabetes, dementia) and cognitive decline, as well as on eye-specific diseases. VAMPIRE is highly interdisciplinary, bringing together medical image analysis, machine learning and data analysis, medical research, and data governance and management at scale. The talk introduces concisely the aims, structure and current results of VAMPIRE, the current vision for effective translation to society, and the several non-technical factors complementing technical research needed to achieve effective translation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://blogs.cs.st-andrews.ac.uk/csblog/2019/01/16/emanuele-trucco-dundee-school-seminar/
 
Description Invited seminar, Usher Institute, Univ of Edinburgh 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact TITLE
"The VAMPIRE project: mining the retinome"

ABSTRACT
This talk is an overview of the VAMPIRE (Vessel Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the REtina) project, an international and interdisciplinary research initiative created and led by the Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh in Scotland, UK, since the early 2000s. VAMPIRE research focuses on the eye as a source of biomarkers for systemic diseases (e.g. cardiovascular, diabetes, dementia) and cognitive decline, as well as on eye-specific diseases. VAMPIRE is highly interdisciplinary, bringing together medical image analysis, machine learning and data analysis, medical research, and data governance and management at scale. The talk introduces concisely the aims, structure and current results of VAMPIRE, the current vision for effective translation to society, and the several non-technical factors complementing technical research needed to achieve effective translation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.ed.ac.uk/usher/news-events/events/cmi-seminar-the-vampire-project-mining-the-retinom
 
Description Invited talk, IEEE CVPR workshop on Medical Computer Vision 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The International Conference on Pattern Recognition, sponsored by the IEEE, is one of the largest and most important conferences on computer vision and application in the world. It includes a series of satellite events, e.g. workshops organized as mini-conferences with their own invited speakers and paper selection process.
I was invited in recognition of the international visibility of the VAMPIRE research programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://sites.google.com/view/cvprmcv19/home
 
Description ItalianInstituteTalk2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I organised an evening dedicated to the eye as a window on body health, ie source of biomarkers for risk prediction of systemic, high-incidence diseases like CVD, diabetes and complications, dementia. Advert published online by the venue (Italian Institute of Culture, Edinburgh):
"The eye is a powerful observatory on our health. A complex network of blood vessels can be inspected directly and inexpensively through the pupil. Can these blood vessels and their changes signal the risk of serious systemic problems, like cardiovascular disease or dementia? Three researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee discuss their work in an interdisciplinary conversation across ophthalmology, genetics and computer science."
SPEAKERS: Dr Alex Doney, University of Dundee (EPSRC project CI); Prof Emanuele Trucco, University of Dundee (EPSRC project PI); Dr Andrew Tatham, NHS and University of Edinburgh.
In collaboration with the Italian Institute of Culture (Edinburgh), the Italian Association of Scientists in the UK (AISUK, http://www.aisuk.org/), and the British Science Association (http://edinburghbsa.weebly.com/).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.iicedimburgo.esteri.it/iic_edimburgo/en/gli_eventi/calendario/2016/12/what-does-the-eye-t...
 
Description LABEL MICCAI inv talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited talk, workshop on Large-Scale Annotation of Biomedical data and Expert-Level Synthesis (LABEL), part of the int conf on Medical Image Computing and Computer-Based Intervention (MICCAI) 2017, Quebec City.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description MICCAI OMIA inv talk 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited talk, workshop on Medical Ophthalmic Image Analysis, part of the Medical Image Computing and Computer-based Intervention (MICCAI) conference, Athens, 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description MacGillivray invited talk IB 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited talk at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, on Information Biotechnology
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.investinedinburgh.com/news-events/events/innovationnation-biotechnology/
 
Description NHS Education for Scotland Optometry Annual Conference - Dr Tom MacGillivray facilitated an invited workshop titled "Biomarker discovery for health and ageing" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact NHS Education for Scotland Optometry Annual Conference, held in Edinburgh on 1 Oct 2017, Dr Tom MacGillivray facilitated an invited workshop titled "Biomarker discovery for health and ageing".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description NHS at 70 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited talk at conference "NHS at 70", Perth, Scotland. Special session on "convergence of healthcare". Organized by NHS Research Scotland.
~50 people attended the session, and several hundreds the conference. Talks are available online (See below).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.nhsresearchscotland.org.uk/uploads/tinymce/Session%20C%20-%20website.pdf
 
Description NIDEK talk March 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited speaker at scientific workshop (invitation only) organized by NIDEK Technologies, part of the Japanese NIDEK group. Theme is data and image analysis technologies in retinal and eye healthcare.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.nidektechnologies.it/
 
Description Poster - Quantitative Measurements of Enlarged Perivascular Spaces in the Brain are Associated with Retinal Microvascular Parameters 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Poster title: Quantitative Measurements of Enlarged Perivascular Spaces in the Brain are Associated with Retinal Microvascular Parameters. Authors: L Ballerini, S McGrory, R Lovreglio, MC Valdés Hernandez, E Pellegrini, T MacGillivray, E Trucco, S Munoz Maniega, R Henderson, A Taylor, ME Bastin, IJ Deary, JM Wardlaw. Presented at: International Conference On Medical Imaging Understanding and Analysis (MIUA 2017), Edinburgh, July 2017; Symposium on Small Vessel Disease of the Brain, Hellerup, Denmark, May 2017; SINAPSE Annual Scientific Meeting June 2017; CCACE Research Day, Sept 2017; Centre for Clinical Sciences Away Day Feb 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description Prof Joanna Wardlaw feature in Health Matters magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A feature in Health Matters magazine, Winter 2018-2019 issue, P 24-25. Wardlaw, JM. "MRI scans of the brain".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Prof Joanna Wardlaw keynote talk "Recent advances in small vessel disease", Chengdu, China. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof Joanna Wardlaw talk "Recent advances in small vessel disease" at the 2019 Tianfu International Stroke Conference, Keynote, 1st June 2019, Chengdu, China.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Prof Joanna Wardlaw lecture "Brain Health: a small matter of the blood vessels" in Edinburgh, UK. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Edinburgh Neuroscience Public Christmas Lecture 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Prof Joanna Wardlaw talk "What makes a good paper and how to prepare it? Suggestions based on my person experience",Beijing, China 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof Joanna Wardlaw talk "What makes a good paper and how to prepare it? Suggestions based on my person experience", at the Tiantan International Stroke Conference 2019, 28 June 2019, Beijing, China
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Prof Joanna Wardlaw talk "Where next for stroke research?" in Edinburgh, UK. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof Joanna Wardlaw talk "Where next for stroke research?"at the 6th Edinburgh Stroke Winter School, 19th February 2019, Edinburgh, UK.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Royal College of Physicians 'Women in medicine: a celebration' project 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Royal College of Physicians (RCP)'s 'Women in medicine: a celebration' project is a free exhibition of specially commissioned photographic portraits to honour contemporary and historical women in medicine. The project showcased a number of today's leading female clinicians and the women from the history of medicine who have inspired them. Prof Joanna Wardlaw is featured in the project alongside someone who inspired her, Marie Sklodowska Curie: https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/women-medicine-joanna-wardlaw-and-marie-curie
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/events/women-medicine-celebration
 
Description Royal Society Science+ 2-day conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I created, wrote the grant proposal and co-chaired the 2-day SciencePlus meeting "The transformative potential of data and image analysis for eye care", fully funded by the Royal Society of London. The event took place at the Royal Society in April 2018. Speakers were a selection of high-visibility researchers from ophthalmology, epidemiology, statistics and medical image analysis with convergent interests around eye care.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2018/04/image-analysis-for-eyecare/
 
Description SVD Research LinkedIn 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact SVD Research LinkedIn social media channel promoting work of the University of Edinburgh SVD Research groups, including publications, awards, press releases, recent vacancies and other associated activities, aiming to build an international network of professionals specialising in the SVD Research and promote the research to funding bodies, policy makers and industry professionals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://uk.linkedin.com/in/svd-research-5aaa27199
 
Description TV and radio appearances (retinal vasculature and dementia) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The EPSRC EP/M005976/1 project "Multi-modal retinal biomarkers for vascular dementia", on which I am PI, was announced on Mon 27th Oct 2014 by all major newspapers in England and Scotland (incl Times, Times Higher Education, Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, Daily Record, Courier, Huffington Post, Herald, Evening Telegraph), abroad (incl Times of India, ECanada News), radio stations (BBC R5 Live Breakfast, BBC Scotland, West Midlands, Gloucestershire, Heretfordshire) and several television (BBC Reporting Scotland, STV). I appeared on several TV and radio interviews.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description The Row Fogo Centre for Research into Ageing and the Brain website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Being officially recognised as a Research Centre in 2018, The Row Fogo Centre for Research into Ageing and the Brain launched a new website. The website is directed in multiple audiences. Content includes a comprehensive description of the Centre research activity, updates on recent publications, news and organised events. The website contains information for PhD candidates and medical imaging researchers about related programmes and courses, and for visiting staff and students on how to join SVD Research Groups. The website gives a breadth of ways to fundraise and donate to support SVD research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.ed.ac.uk/clinical-brain-sciences/research/row-fogo-centre
 
Description The eye, the brain, the light and the computer 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact March 2012: I created and co-organized the initiative "The light, the eye, the brain and the computer" with RSA Scotland (Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, manufacturing and commerce), the Italian Cultural Institute (ICI, Edinburgh) and the School of Computing, Univ of Dundee, which spanned 3 events: at ICI Edinburgh (3 speakers in conversation, specialist of photography, image analysis and phychology), GCU Glasgow (as above) and Inverness (I was the only speaker).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012