Collaborative AI-based research projects awarded cross-BRC funds

Collaborative research projects across the three UCL-linked BRCs which are applying artificial intelligence (AI) to complex problems in cancer, sepsis, hearing loss, neuromuscular diseases and emergency medicine will receive combined funding from the three BRCs to accelerate their progress.

The five projects across UCLH, Moorfields and Great Ormond Street Hospital BRCs will receive funding made possible by a Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) grant to UCL and are expected to develop proofs of concept or generate preliminary data which can be used to support larger research projects in future.

Projects were chosen which apply AI to challenges which, if addressed, could substantially improve patient care.

Researchers and clinicians involved in the programmes of work will apply AI to:

-          Better understand the ‘microbial communities’ which colonise the blood of patients with sepsis, and which ‘microbial profiles’ make up a healthy vs diseased state, so that sepsis treatment can be more targeted (led by Dr Francois Balloux - UCL Genetics Institute)

-          Predict demand for beds and other resources (such as imaging) in the emergency department to tackle crowding in the department and improve patient flow (led by Dr Sonya Crowe - UCL Clinical Operational Research Unit)

-          Investigate whether AI-based methods of analysing MRI images of muscles are better than manual-based methods for muscle-wasting conditions such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (led by Dr Baris Kanber, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology)

-          Detect patterns of disease in cancer to catch the disease more quickly and answer the question: ‘based on this particular patient’s condition, how can we achieve the best outcome for them?’  (led by Dr Alvina Lai - UCL Institute of Health Informatics)

-          Analyse data from patients with hearing loss to understand which patients would benefit most from new preventative and curative treatments (led by Nishchay Nehta, UCL Ear Institute)

Projects are due to start in 2020.