Sam Budd is a first year PhD student on the CDT, based at the BioMedIA lab at Imperial College London

Tell me a bit about you and your PhD project

I obtained a MEng in Computing from Imperial and joined the CDT in Medical Imaging at King’s College London, I am completing the MRes in Medical Imaging before moving back to Imperial to begin a PhD under the supervision of Dr Bernhard Kainz (Imperial) and Dr Emma Robinson (Kings).

My research focuses on leveraging web based platforms to visualise, explore and annotate medical image data. I am exploring ways in which crowdsourcing data can accelerate development of medical imaging applications using Deep Learning and Active Learning.

What is the cortical explorer and how did you get involved in the project?

The Cortical Explorer is the result of an individual project completed at the end of my MEng in computing. Dr Kainz and Dr Robinson proposed the project and between us we developed it into the Cortical Explorer – a web application for exploring the brain.

What problem does it solve and what are its potential applications?

The Cortical Explorer presents a parcellation of the brain (and map of distinct areas of the brain) that has been created by Dr Glasser et al (Washington) from data gathered by the Human Connectome Project. It is the first visualisation of this kind of data that enables interaction with individual areas of the brain, and at present is focussed on exploring the parcellation and the data that accompanies each area of the brain.

The Cortical explorer enables a more immersive exploration of the data than was previously possible and opens doors to developing teaching tools, and advanced visualisation pipelines for this kind of data.

Who else is involved in this project?

The team consisted of myself, Dr Kainz, Dr Robinson and some involvement from Dr Glasser et al (Those responsible for generating the parcellation). Dr Kainz and myself were responsible for the technical development side of the project, ensuring smooth interaction with 3D models in real time on the web.

Dr Robinson provided the data used and ensured we were displaying relevant information and providing a scientifically correct visualisation. Dr Glasser et al helped to provide feedback on the tool and gave insights into how it might be used in different ways, or what other data it could be paired with. Our interdisciplinary team allowed us to focus our efforts where our strengths lie while staying confident the project was always moving forward and in a useful direction.