Hospitals worldwide are dealing with new challenges where image processing, image analysis and Computer Vision techniques play a basic role. Nowadays, Medical imaging (MI) is mandatory in different medical tasks concerning both disease treatment (disease diagnosis, disease progression, monitoring the effect of treatments, etc.) and research activities (drug discovery, robot-assisted therapy, understanding of human body structure and neural connectivity, etc.). Recent advances in MI have opened new lines for the understanding of diseases in all parts of the human body including pathologies such as cancer, arteriosclerosis, epilepsy, Alzheimer, Parkinson, etc. The application of Bio-inspired (BC) and Soft Computing (SC) methodologies in MI has increased in the last few years due to their capability to deal with the uncertainty and imprecision underlying most of real-world problems and, specifically, medical applications requiring the use of image processing techniques.
The general area of the project deals with the application of intelligent systems constituted by SC-BC techniques to real-world MI applications. Such interdisciplinary subject is one of the added values of the research area the ESRs will be involved in. Indeed, medicine, imaging and computing laid the foundations of the ITN. The network’s main research lines show the said interdisciplinary nature: MI acquisition, MI restoration, MI segmentation, structure tracking, and MI registration, all using BC-SC.
Hence, the network clearly promotes the transverse exchange of knowledge among different disciplines. Furthermore, it also aims to provide a transverse research formation from different industrial sectors: scientific research, technology development, practical uses in hospitals, and companies. Thus, the proposed training programme will provide the European industry with highly qualified researchers able to solve complex MI problems. These researchers will promote new scientific knowledge and technological applications in hospitals, healthcare providers, and technological companies.
The proposed main programme aims to offer an application-oriented formation by following the usual process starting from the patient with a lesion and finishing with the clinician’s decisions. Throughout all this usual MI process, we can distinguish a number of categories involving different problems. Each of them will correspond to a specific subprogramme that will comprise different topics tackled by at least one network participant. Every category is prone to be faced by using SC-BC approaches which arise as transverse disciplines in the main programme. A brief description of the said categories follows and is represented in Figure 1, together with the assignment of the research and technical partners (including both the ITN participants and associated partners) to them.
Figure 1: Graphical representation of the MI domain subdivided into categories and the assignments of partners and categories according to the partners’ expertise and research plan