Washington UniversitySchool of Medicine
Electronic Radiology Laboratory Electronic Radiology Lab banner

Welcome to the Electronic Radiology Lab

Founded in 1986 by Professors Jost, Blaine, and Cox, the ERL continues to investigate digital imaging technologies important to the distributed radiology department of the future. This site is a resource for general information about our lab and personnel, as well as updates on our participation in various research studies.

Latest News:

"The Cancer Imaging Archive" (TCIA) is listed on the "NIH Data Sharing Repositories"

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has the "The Cancer Imaging Archive" listed on its NIH Data Sharing Repositories list. The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA) is a large archive of medical images of cancer accessible for public download. All images are stored in DICOM file format. The images are organized as "Collections", typically patients related by a common disease (e.g. lung cancer), image modality (MRI, CT, etc) or research focus.

TCIA announced as part of Big Data Research and Development Initiative

The White House logoOn March 29th, the Obama Administration officially announced its Big Data Research and Development Initiative on the White House Blog, outlining the government's plans to encourage and accelerate scientific discovery through gathering and analysis of large data sets.  The ERL currently hosts and maintains The Cancer Imaging Archive, which is noted as a part of this initiative on the Office of Science and Technology Policy's Big Data Fact Sheet.

Charles Hildebolt Highlighted in November AADR Science Advocate

AADR LogoOur own Charles Hildebolt, Ph.D., was recently featured in the Strides in Science section of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Science Advocate newsletter.  The article provides a brief summary of Dr. Hildebolt's accomplishments and details how his AADR involvement has been important to his career in research. 
Read more here: AADR Strides in Science

New Cancer Imaging Archive to link tumor scans, genetic data

UPDATE: The St. Louis Post Dispatch published a story about TCIA on September 19th, 2011

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has chosen Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to create an innovative internet-accessible database of millions of cancer images.

The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA) will combine tumor scans collected from multiple cancer research initiatives into a single searchable database accessible to both research scientists and the general public.

One of the first projects to be included will be The Cancer Genome Atlas, a collaboration to catalog the genetic errors in more than 20 different types of cancers. The University’s Genome Institute has played a leading role in that effort.

For the first time, TCIA will connect the genetic information from the cancer atlas project to x-rays and MRI, CT and PET scans used to diagnose patients’ cancers. The links will make possible new studies of tumors that may improve diagnosis and treatment, says Fred Prior, PhD, director of TCIA at Washington University’s Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology.

“Linking scans to genetic information may help us to identify aspects of the tumor’s appearance that can help us determine the genetic type of the tumor,” Prior says. “That could be extremely important for diagnosis and treatment of some cancers.”

As an example, Prior cites glioblastomas, a type of dangerous and difficult-to-treat brain tumor. Genome Atlas researchers have identified four distinct genetic signatures in these tumors and hope to use those signatures to customize treatments. If scientists can correlate tumor scans to particular genetic subtypes, it may expedite efforts to improve treatment.

TCIA can also be used by patients and other members of the general public, who can search for images of tumors based on the type of scan and the area of the body where the tumor is found. Organizers are making the data publicly accessible for educational and informational purposes.

Prior is director of the University’s Electronic Radiology Laboratory; its researchers specialize in quality assurance, analysis and management of biomedical imaging data. The laboratory’s scientists have been actively working with the National Biomedical Imaging Archive, a software package originally created at the NCI. Prior and his colleagues adapted the package for use in the National Lung Screening Trial; now they have modified it to build TCIA.

“TCIA will support a wide variety of cancer research initiatives by providing scientists with easy access to the enormous amounts of data in the archive,” Prior says. “This data will also be available to the general public, with links to web pages that help them understand the images.”

NCI is providing $800,000 to Washington University during the first year of the TCIA project and additional funding in its second and third years.

The website for TCIA is http://www.cancerimagingarchive.net. Registration and use of the archive are free.

Medical Physics, March 2011 cover image
The cover of the March 2011 issue of the journal Medical Physics features a paper co-authored by the ERL's own David Politte and Bruce Whiting entitled "Noise-resolution tradeoffs in x-ray CT imaging: A comparison of penalized alternating minimization and filtered backprojection algorithms".


3T Parcellation imageWashington University is embarking on a 5-year, $30 million effort to map the pathways through which information traverses the human brain.  A grant awarded by the Blueprint for Neuroscience Research of the National Institutes of Health will fund the Human Connectome Project, led by principal investigors David Van Essen, Ph.D. (Washington University School of Medicine) and Kamil Ugurbil, Ph.D. (University of Minnesota's Center for Magnetic Resonance Research). The high performance computing facility directed by Fred Prior, PhD, will be an integral resource for this project.