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Spinal Cord Cross-sectional Area Analysis in Neurodegenerative Disease
RISE Leadership Academy 2013-2014 Project: Research
Winston Liu
Fischell Department of Bioengineering & National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Algorithm Design
Executive Summary
The loss of spinal cord tissue, or atrophy, is a prominent
finding in many chronic progressive neurologic diseases such
as multiple sclerosis (MS) or HTLV-1 associated
myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). Although
spinal cord atrophy can be qualitatively detected on routine
clinical MRI, a robust and sensitive method to quantify
changes in spinal cord size might improve characterization of
disease severity and progression. Such a method could help
develop an imaging marker for disease, and serve as a
surrogate end point in clinical trials. The goal of this project
was to develop a semi-autonomous algorithm for cord crosssectional area analysis in MRI. The developed algorithm was
then applied to healthy controls, MS, and HAM/TSP patients.
Results of this work were compiled into an original journal
article which was recently submitted for publication (first
Student Bio
Winston Liu is a junior bioengineering major in
the RISE program.
He worked in the
Neuroimmunology Branch of the National
Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
during the Fall of 2013 and studied abroad in
Spain at the Universidad Carlos III during the
Spring of 2014.
He will finish his RISE
requirements during the Summer of 2014.
Special thanks to my mentors: Dr. Govind Nair, Dr. Steven Jacobson, & Dr. Daniel Reich

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