Mizzou Engineers to help NextGen Precision Health professionals process, analyze, protect big data

Precision medicine comes with large volumes of imaging data. Now, engineers, clinicians and medical professionals are training artificial intelligence to analyze those images to spot potential health issues.

Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health Building Exterior

Jan. 27, 2022

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the capability to quickly identify abnormalities in medical images and flag health issues. Before it can fully be trusted, though, researchers need to process, label and analyze large volumes of data to train a neural network on what to look for.

As part of NextGen Precision Health, engineers at the University of Missouri will help clinicians and medical professionals better analyze the large volumes of information coming from sophisticated MRI and other imaging equipment, as well as determine how best to store that information securely.

The team brings together expertise from a number of specialty fields. Kannappan Palaniappan and Filiz Bunyak — a professor and assistant research professor, respectively, from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) — have spent years developing methods to train AI to analyze images. EECS Associate Professor Prasad Calyam is an expert in cybersecurity and cloud computing who has previously developed remote instrumentation technologies and collaboration environments for different kinds of scientific instruments. And Associate Professor Matt Maschmann in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering specializes in AI-driven manufacturing of nanomaterials and material characterization.

“We have a lot of experience in intelligent image analytics in our college where we can help,” said Calyam. “We all bring different skills to the table for these image analytics projects that require significant computation resources and expert collaborations to speed up discovery and create necessary innovations.”

The team will build on existing collaborations with experts in imaging and radiology including Talissa Altes, professor in the Department of Radiology, Mahesh Thakkar, professor in the Department of Neurology, Teresa Lever, associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology and Michael Chapman, chair of the Department of Biochemistry.

Through the UMKC and MU joint efforts on the NextGen Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center, the team will also work with Russ Waitman, NextGen’s director of medical informatics, on extending collaboration activities to other relevant NextGen stakeholders across the UM System.

Calyam is hopeful that the collaborations lead to further interdisciplinary projects for NextGen operations supported by federal agencies and industry partners, as well as guide new research areas and provide training opportunities for students.

Read more from the College of Engineering

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