Visualization Design Contest

Visualization of brain structure for surgical planning

The 2009 IEEE Visualization Contest is designed to foster innovation in visualization and analysis techniques, and to encourage new applications of visualization research to real-world imaging data. With this year's emphasis on medical imaging, we hope to attract medical image analysis researchers who haven't previously participated in the Visualization conference, and to highlight the utility and relevance of visualization practices to effective medical image analysis.

The focus of the IEEE Visualization 2009 Contest is Visualization of brain structure for surgical planning of tumor resection. Imaging data from two patient cases have generously been made available by Alexandra J. Golby, M.D, Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. The brain surgery to remove their tumors (resection) was planned in part according to MRI scans that measured different tissue properties and structures.

In addition to standard (scalar-valued) structural scan, patients were also scanned with Diffusion MRI. Diffusion MRI (dMRI) is able to detect the directional organization of white matter tissue in the central nervous system. A popular method of dMRI analysis and visualization is tractography, which follows directions of highest diffusivity to trace out coarse models of axonal pathways in the white matter. One particularly promising application of dMRI is in neurosurgical planning. Neurosurgeons face the task of understanding the white matter structure around the tumor, how it connects elsewhere in the brain, how to access the tumor during surgery, and how to remove as much of the tumor as possible without damaging brain function by impinging on healthy tissue.

A standard way to locate particularly important areas of the brain is by Functional MRI (fMRI), which detects slight changes in the brain's blood supply to infer which cortical areas are activating. We will supply fMRI scans for both patients, as well as registration information to connect the structural, dMRI, and fMRI data.

See the contest web page at http://viscontest.sdsc.edu/2009/ for more information and to download the data set.


Amit Chourasia, University of California, San Diego
Gordon Kindlmann, University of Chicago

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