Imagerie Adaptative_ Diagnostique et Interventionnelle IADI UMRS

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					                  Section des Unités de recherche

Report from the visiting committee
Research unit :
Imagerie Adaptative, Diagnostique et
Interventionnelle – UMR_S
University Nancy 1

                         November 2007
                Section des Unités de recherche

Report from the visiting committee
Research unit : Imagerie Adaptative, Diagnostique et
Interventionnelle – UMR_S
University Henri Poincaré – Nancy 1

                       November 2007
Report from the visiting committee

The research unit :
    Name of the research unit : Imagerie Adaptative, Diagnostique et Interventionnelle

    Requested label : UMR_S

    N° in case of renewal :

    Head of the research unit : M. Jacques FELBLINGER

University or school :

    University Nancy 1

Other institutions and research organization:


Date(s) of the visit :

    November the 12th, 2007

Members of the visiting committee

  Chairman of the commitee :
  Mr Jacques BITTOUN, Université Paris-Sud

  Other committee members :
  Mr Michael MARKL, Freiburg

  Mr Chrit MOONEN, Bordeaux

  CNU, CoNRS, CSS INSERM,                     représentant INRA, INRIA, IRD…..)
  representatives :


  AERES scientific representative:

  University or school representative:
  Mr Pierre MUTZENHARDT, Université Nancy 1

  Research organization representative (s) :

Report from the visiting committee

       1 Short presentation of the research unit
       The team includes 8 university researchers of whom only the director is full time on the project, the others
sharing their time between research in the lab and University hospital duties. It also includes 1 full time research
engineer so that the total number of equivalent full time researchers is 3.6. Other technical and administrative staffs
add 1.3 full time equivalents. The director of the unit has acquired an experience in industrial research before coming
to academic research, at the University of Bern in Switzerland first and then in Nancy. As proven by his publication
and patent record, he is an international reference in the domain of sensors and detection of physiological signals in
high magnetic field.

       2 Preparation and execution of the visit
       A first welcome meeting was organized with the visiting committee in the absence of the evaluated team,
during which the director of the Hospital, the Vice-President of the University in charge of Research, the Dean of the
Faculty of Medicine, and representatives of multiple local research organizations came to support the project. They
unanimously expressed the importance for them of the IADI team due to its position at the triple interface Medicine
(Hospital)/Science (University)/Technology (Industry). Then, the director of the unit presented the work achieved
since the creation of the lab in 2003 and its sponsoring by INSERM from 2005. The oral report was very clear and
included presentations by key clinicians and scientists of the team. They explained, better than the written project
(only 10 pages were allowed by the format for description of the work and project), the clinical applications of the
technological developments achieved by the team or envisioned in the project. Then the committee visited the lab
which included demonstrations of instruments already achieved (an original monitoring system based on sensors
already working on the MR scanner of the hospital, the research image database Archimed…) and others in progress or
as prototypes. Then deliberation took place between experts, representative members of the visiting committee. The
University representative joined the group at the end of deliberation to represent the University. The committee
members also regretted that the short time allotted by AERES for the visit did not allow in-depth conversations with
the director of the project and members of his team. The conclusions of the deliberation are given in the following
paragraphs and were briefly exposed to the team during a work lunch before departure of the visiting committee.

       3 Overall appreciation of the activity of the research unit, of its
         links with local, national and international partners
        The whole project has a perfect coherence, centered on the concept of adaptive imaging: From the beginning
of MRI its main problem has been the long acquisition time required, limiting and even preventing the study of moving
organs. Huge technological progresses in hardware now enable ultrarapid acquisitions. However, duration of 50
milliseconds is still too long to study, for example, cardiac contraction. Now that acquisition times have been
compressed to their technological minimum, another approach consists in taking motion into account and correcting
its effects in real time during acquisition; this is the concept of adaptive imaging developed by the team of the
director of the unit. It includes: instrumentation research to build non magnetic, highly sensitive sensors; computer
and engineering work to conceive image and data processing software able to evaluate the size and direction of
movement and make real time modifications during image acquisition and real-time corrections in image
reconstruction. The physicists of the team bring innovations in all of these domains. The heart and brain of the system
they implemented is a Signal Analyzer and Event Controller (SAEC), a home-made controller able to drive the
sequencer of the MR scanner. Furthermore, the clinicians of the team develop applications for these innovations in
many clinical studies of moving organs, for example to get rid of artifacts due to blood motion in functional MRI of the

      brain or to compensate for the respiratory motion in quantitative imaging of renal or hepatic perfusion in
normally breathing patients.

       Because the stakes are very high for imaging of moving organs, the team has established strong links with
industrial partners and particularly with Schiller, a company specialized in monitoring patients in an MR environment
and GE Healthcare, one of the 3 main manufacturers of MR systems. Five patents have already been filed by the IADI
team and the work was published in more than 50 international articles since 2002, in journals of good and very good
level mainly in the domain of methods in MR imaging. The visiting committee appreciated the publication record given
the small number of full time equivalent researchers. All publications were of high quality within the field of
Biomedical Imaging, which is the proper scale in which the evaluation must be rated as unanimously stated by
members of the visiting committee. Moreover, the rate of publications is increasing if one considers that many articles
are currently delayed due to the requirement of patent filing. The committee also pointed to the fact that currently,
the core production of the team is mainly made of methodological works.

       4 Appreciation of resources and of the life of the research unit
       Due to their multiple activities, the small number of full time equivalent researchers corresponds to a large
number of individuals enabling supervision of 9 PhD students currently in the lab, and 2 others have already defended
their thesis in the past 3 years; most of them are at least partly financed by industrial partners (Cifre). Moreover, in
order to cover all the fields of competence, the director established strong links with all surrounding engineering
schools and institutions (SUPELEC, CRAN, …). This represents a large number of involved people and the visiting
committee could sense the strong cohesion of the group due to the dynamical and very active animation by the
director who appeared during the visit as an efficient conductor, quite appreciated by the members of his team. The
strong support by the hospital also results in comfortable laboratory space: the team occupies almost a whole floor of
a hospital building that will be progressively dedicated entirely to research, including clinical research. The team also
benefits of large time slots on the currently existing MR scanners of the University-Hospital. Moreover, a new 3T MR
scanner will be soon installed of which the IADI team will own 40% of the time for its research projects; this is an
optimal arrangement given the fact that the team is still too small to manage and finance a full time research MR
scanner. Beyond communication which is excellent with surrounding research and clinical teams, the University
representative specified that the director of the unit and his team will be a central piece in the creation of a new
master in Biomedical engineering currently in progress at Nancy.

       5 Recommendations and advice

       — Strong points :
                   •    The project as well as the work achieved establishes strong links between Physics, Medicine
                        and Technology and correspondingly Hospital, University and Industry. These links are clearly
                        appreciated by all University and Hospital institutions that bring a strong support to the team
                        and project in the form of staff, office surfaces and equipment.
                   •    The committee was quite impressed by the level of already established achievements of the
                        team, knowing that it was a completely new activity developed by the director of the unit
                        since his arrival at Nancy about 6 years ago.
                   •    The committee considered that the team did particularly well in terms of impact per Euro,
                        with generous funding either by French Research agencies (RNTS, ANR …) or by industrial
                        partners who, among other contributions, provide a lot of grants for students who easily find a
                        job after their PhD in the lab.

       — Weak points :
                   •     The IADI team has set as global aim to improve the quality of MR acquisition by taking into
                         account motion. However, it should set more quantified and verifiable goals and defined key
                         clinical applications linking a target in spatial and time resolution to each specific application
                         so that the progress towards the final aim can be better appreciated.
                   •     While maintaining a high rate of methodological works, the team should increase the number
                         of publications involving both physicians and physicists in order to still improve the maximum
                         transfer from methodological developments to their clinical applications. Moreover, a strong
                         link with clinicians guarantees the existence of the precious feedback loop between methods
                         and clinical applications, helping to better orient the methodological developments

       — Recommendations :

      Though the team is relatively small, its research topic on monitoring and real time adaptation is particularly
important for both security in MR imaging and at improving the availability, reliability and clinical applications of real
time data acquisition. Moreover, the team is an international reference in the domain.