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Summer Student 2021: Yutong Chen

Summer Student 2021: Yutong Chen

Exploring state-of-the-art artificial intelligence-based methods to reduce the time taken to acquire magnetic resonance images (MRI).

Supervisor name and institution: Dr Guang Yang, Imperial College London

Project summary:

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive technique that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues in the body. However, compared to other medical imaging techniques, it takes a long time taken to acquire these images. This limits the usefulness of MRI in an emergency setting and for imaging rapid physiological processes such as the heart beating. Scientists therefore often use animals to study heart scarring and heart failure.

In this Summer Studentship, Yutong will explore state-of-the-art artificial intelligence-based methods to reduce the time taken to acquire magnetic resonance images (MRI). He will use a specific method called generative adversarial network (GAN) to reconstruct full magnetic resonance images from the incomplete pictures of the hearts of human patients. If successful, this research could enable faster and cheaper magnetic resonance imaging and help to replace animals by allowing heart scarring to be studied directly in human patients.

Animals project will replace: Mice ,rats and pigs.

Watch Yutong’s Summer School presentation…


Get to know Yutong…

Why do you want to participate in animal replacement summer studentship?

In the first day of medical school, I swore to myself “first do no harm”, to human patients in my future clinical training as well as animals in my future medical research experience. I am against the idea of inflicting harm on animals in clinical research which is why I want to investigate human diseases using human relevant research.

How will the Summer Student Programme help to kick-start your career as an animal free researcher?

I believe this program would tremendously benefit my future career as an animal free researcher. It will support my learning of important animal free research skills, including image analysis and computer modelling.

I am also excited by the summer school the program offers. This amazing opportunity will not only broaden my knowledge of replacements for animal research, but will also bring together like-minded people, with interests in different research fields but united by the desire to end the use of animals in research. I believe this would spark future animal free research collaborations.

Why is research without the use of animals important to you?

Two years ago, I was doing my work experience in a heart research institute in China where the leading researchers were sadly teaching using mice. There I became frustrated that the researchers believed that the use of animals would have a translational benefit to human patients.

Because of this I quit my work experience one month early, and it drove me to pursue animal free research in my university studies.

How does your project fit in with your degree?

My summer project aims to explore the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in improving medical diagnosis of heart scarring. As a medical student and a machine learning enthusiast, this is a perfect opportunity. I can combine my two passions in improving medical diagnosis by making use of the ever-expanding quantity of medical data available.

I hope to build upon my experience of AI, by working on a more complicated AI-based computational system. The computational skills and insight into AI-based medical research cannot be acquired from my medical course alone, so this project will help to address that knowledge gap.

What are your future plans and career aspirations?

I have chosen a medical imaging project, because of my career ambition of becoming a radiologist and my love of anatomy. Extending from my summer project, in a similar field, I wish to pursue the MB-PhD program in Cambridge.


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Many human relevant approaches have been introduced into the scientific world, but unfortunately, the use of animals in medical research is entrenched and institutionalised, with many researchers still viewing animal experiments as the gold standard. This is our time to make change happen. Our work is funded entirely by your generous support, so please make a donation today to help us free animals from laboratories for good.

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Page last modified on December 15, 2021 3:38 pm