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Drs. Johanna Seddon and Tianxiao Huan Awarded a Pilot Project Program Grant

Date Posted: Monday, January 24, 2022

Tianxiao Huan, PhD, Assistant Professor, and Johanna M. Seddon, MD, ScM, Professor of Ophthalmology and Director of Retina and the Macular Degeneration Center of Excellence, were awarded a Pilot Project Program grant from the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, UMass Chan Medical School, for their project on “Dissecting optical coherence tomography features for age-related macular degeneration”.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible central vision impairment and blindness in the word. There is no effective treatment for geographic atrophy AMD, the advanced dry form which impairs central vision. Clinically, optical coherence tomography (OCT) is used to monitor and diagnose many retinal diseases including AMD, because it provides the non-invasive qualitative and quantitative substructures of retina in vivo.  Identification of informative morphological features from retinal OCT images for early detection of advanced AMD remains challenging.

The proposed project will be in collaboration with Dr. Yu Chen, Associate Professor and Dr. Xian Du, Assistant Professor, in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, UMass Amherst. The goals of this pilot project are to optimize retinal segmentation methods to extract specific morphological features in various stages of AMD and generate preliminary data then leverage the findings to seek additional grants. Understanding these retinal morphologic and clinical risk factors is important for earlier diagnosis, targeted screening of at-risk individuals, and prevention of advanced AMD.