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Dr. Baba Vemuri Receives 4-year NSF Grant That Brings Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease One Step Closer

Vemuri Receives 4-year NSF Grant That Brings Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease One Step Closer Through Advanced Mathematical and Statistical Techniques Applied to Human Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging Data
Baba C. Vemuri, Ph.D., the recently named Wilson and Marie Collins Professor in Engineering at the University of Florida, received a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Collaborative Research for Computational Neuroscience program titled, "Automated Analysis of Movement Disorders from Diffusion and Functional MRI." 
“Dr. Vemuri’s work in neuroimaging and computer vision is groundbreaking. This NSF-funded project aims to advance neuroimage analysis to improve the detection of neurodegenerative disorders,” said Juan Gilbert, The Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Professor and chair of the Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE).
Vemuri will lead the interdisciplinary research team, which includes Hani Doss, Ph.D., a professor from the Department of Statistics; Dr. Michael Okun, chair of the Department of Neurology; and David Vaillancourt, Ph.D., a professor from the Department of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology. The team will dedicate the four-year, $1.06 million grant toward research by developing algorithms to non-invasively detect changes in neuro-anatomy and function that can be revealed through brain MRI. As the director of the laboratory for Computer Vision, Graphics and Medical Imaging at CISE, Vemuri will be working on the project with two of his graduate students.
“Assessing such changes in structure and function will facilitate development of automated methods to discriminate between different types of movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease and essential tremor,” Vemuri said. The Mayo Clinic states that currently no specific tests exist to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. A specialist can arrive at the diagnosis based on factors such as patient history and medical exams. Imaging tests can rule out other disorders, but not in positively identifying Parkinson’s disease.
Vemuri is 1 of 4 recipients of this year’s 2017 IEEE Computer Society Technical Achievement Award. He is an ACM and IEEE Fellow.