Eleftherios Garyfallidis, an assistant professor of intelligent systems engineering at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has been awarded a $2.6 million grant from the National Institute of Health to develop medical data harmonization software to fight Alzheimer’s Disease. The goal is to create personalized healthcare and precision medicine resources and software.
Along with Bennett Landman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Vanderbilt University, Garyfallidis will develop new methods to detect and intervene in early-stage Alzheimer’s and dementia patients using diffusion magnetic imaging resonance data and machine learning techniques.
“The project has been a personal milestone and one of the reasons why DIPY was built -- to enable a better quality of life for individuals with neurodegenerative disorders,” said Garyfallidis, who is the founder and lead of Diffusion Imaging in Python (DIPY) software, a free and open-source software project for the analysis of data from diffusion magnetic resonance imaging experiments. “Alzheimer’s Disease is a pressing problem that affects roughly 5.8 million Americans. Despite this, only four medications have been approved by the FDA. These medications, however, are not as effective as the disease progresses among the patients because each individual is different and needs personalized care, advanced computerized monitoring, and adaptable medication as they progress along the disease trajectory.”
Garyfallidis and Landman aim to develop new data harmonization methods to tackle across-site variability and create interpretable machine learning models that allow for single-subject inference with a specific focus on older cohorts of patients. In addition, the project will enhance and strengthen existing biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease, and therefore advance monitoring of patient’s progress before and during treatment.
“Using technology to create novel treatments and solutions when it comes to healthcare has long been a priority at our school,” said Kay Connelly, the associate dean for research at the Luddy School. “Precision healthcare, in particular, is a growing area for research, and the work being conducted by Eleftherios and his colleagues has the potential to make a critical impact on an extremely important area of healthcare that touches so many lives.”