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University of Iowa News Release

March 8, 2006

Photo: Milan Sonka, UI professor of electrical and computer engineering; Krishnan B. Chandran, UI professor of biomedical engineering.

UI Researchers Receive $1.3 Million NIH Grant For Coronary Image Analysis

A team of medical image analysis researchers based at the University of Iowa has received a 4-year, $1.3 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to analyze images of the human heart.

In particular, the team will develop a method for predicting atherosclerotic

plaque development in patients undergoing treatment for coronary conditions such as clogged arteries. Formally titled "3-D & 4-D Coronary Hemodynamics and Local Atherosclerosis," the grant follows the success of a previously funded $1.2 million NIH heart image analysis project completed last year.

Milan Sonka, professor of electrical and computer engineering and project principal investigator, says that the new grant involves patient imaging using coronary angiography and intravascular ultrasound. Other techniques included in the project are 3-D and 4-D image analysis, 4-D modeling, tissue characterization, computational fluid dynamics, biostatistics, and predictive pattern classification.

"If successful, coronary patients with a high risk of developing a heart attack or similar event within the next 12 months following their initial interventional treatment will be identified so that a more aggressive treatment can be instituted," Sonka says.

The interdisciplinary project is a collaborative effort of medical image analysis and cardiology researchers at three universities located on two continents. In addition to Sonka, the team includes: Andreas Wahle, associate research engineer in electrical and computer engineering; James Rossen, professor of cardiology in the Carver College of Medicine; Trudy Burns, professor of genetics in the UI College of Public Health; UI electrical and computer engineering graduate students Kyung Lee, Soydan Cinar, and Richard Downe; John Lopez professor of cardiology, University of Chicago; and Tomas Kovarnik and Jan Horak, professors of cardiology, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.

Krishnan B. Chandran, UI professor of biomedical engineering, and Geoff Vince of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation will serve as consultants. The methodology development, medical image analysis and a portion of imaging will be performed at Iowa, while the University of Chicago and Charles University collaborators will contribute a majority of patient image data as well as their medical expertise.

Sonka's Medical Image Analysis Laboratory in the College of Engineering, which is currently funded by six separate NIH grants, uses interdisciplinary research to investigate novel approaches to medical image acquisition, analysis and computer-aided diagnosis. One area of emphasis involves the use of ultrasound and/or magnetic resonance imaging for early assessment of heart disease.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,