Joan Knoll

Western University
Project Title: Automated cytogenetic dosimetry as a public health emergency medical countermeasure
Industry Partner: Cytognomix Inc.
Project Partner: Mark Daley
Platforms: Agile, Blue Gene/Q

HealthDigital Media

Biodosimetry is a useful tool for assessing the radiation dose received by an individual when no reliable physical dosimetry is available. Our Automated Dicentric Chromosome Identifier software (ADCI) has been developed to automate dose estimation of gamma and X-ray radiation exposures. Biodosimetry laboratories currently process these data manually, and the capacity to handle more than a few samples at the same time would quickly overwhelm the laboratories. The software has been developed to handle radiation exposure estimation in mass casualty or moderate scale radiation events. Federal biodosimetry and clinical cytogenetic laboratories have automated systems to collect digital chromosome images of cells with and without chromosomes exposed to radiation. We have developed advanced image segmentation and artificial intelligence methods to analyze these images. ADCI identifies dicentric chromosomes (DCC), a widely recognized, gold standard hallmark of radiation damage. The number and distribution of DCCs are determined and compared with a calibration curve of known radiation dose. Our ADCI software can also generate these calibration curves. Our software computes the dose received of one or more test samples and generates a report for the user. The desktop version of ADCI contains an easy- to-use graphical user interface to perform all of these functions. The supercomputer version of this software proposed here will be optimized to determine the dose for many samples simultaneously, which would be essential in the event of a mass casualty.