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2015 European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grants: Double Success

Congratulations to two senior researchers working in the Department of Engineering Science – Professor Alison Noble and Professor Martin Booth – who have each been awarded a prestigious Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC).

ERC Advanced Grants enable senior researchers pursue their most promising ideas and carry out frontier research with potentially ground-breaking impact on science and society beyond. The grants are awarded under the 'excellent science' pillar of Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme. In the 2015 Advanced Grants competition, 277 awards were made across all research domains, with each award of the order of €2.5 million over 5 years (that can exceptionally be increased to €3.5 million, in case of purchase of major equipment, etc).

PULSE – Perception Ultrasound by Learning Sonographic Experience

Research by Professor Alison Noble FREng OBE and her team in the Oxford Institute of Biomedical Engineering, in collaboration with the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, will apply the latest ideas from machine learning and computer vision to develop a new generation of ultrasound imaging capabilities that aims to revolutionize the use of this low-cost and portable imaging technology across clinical medicine around the world.

Alison NobleProfessor Noble said: 'The ambition in Perception Ultrasound by Learning Sonographic Experience (PULSE) is to reduce the technology-human interface barrier that makes medical ultrasound a high-skill technology today. The underpinning research will significantly build on my group’s expertise in machine learning in ultrasound imaging, and combines recent advances in video image sequence interpretation, machine learning and human-computer-interface technologies in novel ways. PULSE will contribute to both better understanding of skill levels in clinical sonography (ultrasound scanning) and to automated ultrasound image interpretation, and aims to provide a major step towards making ultrasound a more accessible technology to the non-expert across the world'.

AdOMiS - Adaptive Optical Microscopy Systems: Unifying theory, practice and applications

This research, which will be carried out by Professor Martin Booth and his group in conjunction with several collaborators across the University an elsewhere, will develop a framework for adaptive optics methods in optical microscopy.  This technology enhances the ability of microscopes to observe dynamic biological processes at high resolution deep inside tissues, rather than in cells on a microscope slide. This project will bring together theoretical and experimental approaches that will improve microscopes for applications in biomedical research ranging from cell biology to neuroscience.

Professor BoothProfessor Booth said: “Significant technical advances have been made over the last decade in adaptive optics (AO) for microscopes, which has led to widespread interest in adoption of this technology. However, the range of different microscope modalities in use means that there is no single adaptive optics solution that can be universally adopted.  This research programme is directed towards the creation of theoretical and practical frameworks that tie together AO concepts and provide a suite of scientific tools with broad application. This will be achieved through a systems approach that encompasses theoretical modelling, optical engineering and the requirements of biological applications.  We plan to share practical designs, operating protocols and software algorithms that will support next generation AO microscope systems.”