Undergraduates Present Paper at NE BioE Conference

Fischell Department of Bioengineering undergraduates Anik Duttaroy, Andrew Paek, and Bobak Shirmohammadi presented a research paper at the 2009 Northeast Biological Engineering Conference (NEBEC), held this April at Harvard University. The three students, advised by Assistant Professor Yu Chen, discussed their work on human kidney imaging conducted over the past year in Chen's Biophotonic Imaging Laboratory.

One of the challenges surgeons face when performing kidney transplant surgery is the lack of an objective means to evaluate the donor organ's viability in cases where it comes from a deceased patient. In the time it takes to remove the kidney and transport it to the recipient, its structure may deteriorate, resulting in potentially fatal complications. The long-term goal of the Chen Group's study is to develop an imaging system that surgeons can use to assess the viability of the donated kidneys they receive. Currently, Chen explains, "They [can] only rely on the freshness of the organ."

Duttaroy, Paek and Shirmohammadi, working with Chen and in collaboration with Dr. Peter Andrews from Georgetown University Medical School, have been involved in the preliminary stages of the project. Duttaroy and Shirmohammadi performed the segmentation of human kidney images they received from Andrews, a process in which the kidney's tubule structure (part of its filtering system) is selected and enhanced in an image data set to allow for further analysis. Paek developed a MATLAB program to quantify the samples. Previous research has shown that understanding the tubule structure is important in determining the viability of a kidney.

The trio originally submitted their abstract, titled "High-Resolution Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Imaging of Human Kidney Ex Vivo," as a poster, but were excited to learn that the NEBEC review committee wanted them to do an oral presentation instead.

"One of my goals when I began participating in undergraduate research was to publish my research and participate in a conference," says Duttaroy. "We were fortunate to have extensive support from Dr. Chen, the Fischell Department of Bioengineering, [Professor and Chair] Dr. William Bentley, [Director of Operations] Sandra Huskamp, and SOBE (the Society of Bioengineers)."

"The [NEBEC] conference was a great experience for all three of us," he says. In addition to learning about a variety of research projects from presenters ranging from undergraduates to professors, he adds, "It was great that we were able to correlate the theory we learn about in class to the advanced research being done around the country….the conference has provided us with a motivation to continue to be involved in research in the future. The cutting edge technology being developed in the field has lots of potential and we want to be part of that."

For more information about Professor Chen's research, see:

"Chen Publishes OCT Research in Nature Photonics" »
"Cancer Detection Research Wins Grant" »

Published April 24, 2009