According to Professor Guillermo Sapiro, a Global Expert on Image Processing and the Lead Speaker at the Technion Computer Engineering (TCE) Conference to be held at the Technion:
“The field of image processing is opening doors to many other new global applications – like computing tools for early diagnosis of psychiatric disorders”
“Perhaps in the future we can provide computational tools for early diagnosis of psychiatric disorders,” says Professor Guillermo Sapiro, from Duke University in the US, who will be the lead speaker at the Fourth Annual International TCE Conference that will be held at the Technion on May 26-27.
Professor Sapiro is a world expert in image processing who holds numerous technological breakthroughs in the field of video processing and image compression techniques, which were used to accelerate the speed of image broadcasts from Mars to Earth and are being used in the development of new vaccines based on photographic imaging of a virus.
“Along with psychiatrists Helen Egger and Geri Dawson I am working on the development of computational tools for early diagnosis of psychiatric disorders through video imaging analysis,” says Professor Sapiro. “Today, early diagnosis and support in the realm of mental health are limited to privileged kids. Our idea is to develop screening techniques that are both short and easy to administer, that can be given at school, home and pediatric clinics, what will enable access to appropriate mental health diagnosis and help to the general population. We believe that mental health screening should be standardized, like hearing tests are today. One of our main goals is to make tools available, consented to by caregivers, for very early screening of mental health, and one which will enable the system to be able to provide referrals for a child to be seen by a specialist where needed – just as standardized hearing tests given at schools serve as a basis from which children get referred to a specialist. We want mental health to be at the same level. In the US for example, less than one fifth of children undergo proper mental health diagnosis, such as in Autism or anxiety disorders where diagnosis is often provided in a 3-4 year delay on average in comparison to what we are proposing. Early screening therefore should not be limited to privileged children. We want to incorporate the technology we are developing into simple to use devices.”
Born in Uruguay, Professor Sapiro immigrated to Israel in the late 1980s as a kibbutz volunteer, and in 1989 was accepted to the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Technion. “I wanted to do my undergraduate degree at an excellent institution and of course the Technion was an obvious choice,” he said.
“I enjoyed my undergraduate degree so much that continuing on to graduate studies at the Technion came naturally. We worked very hard, much harder than what I have observed later at other universities, but it was fun. The Technion shaped my life and my career, and whenever I visit the Technion I feel as if I have come home. I met my best friends at the Technion, and my wife, so you can say it was a perfect package deal.”
Developments in video processing and battery imaging have led to many applications,” adds Professor Sapiro. “I love interdisciplinary research and working with people. I have been very lucky to be collaborating with outstanding colleagues and students who have helped me enter new disciplines. For example, in the technology development for finding new footholds for vaccinations based on tracing the outer contours of the flu virus, I am working with Dr. Sriram Subramaniam , a researcher from the American National Institute of Health (NIH). The idea for this research is to take information from CT scans and to use very advanced techniques in image processing that we developed to reconstruct the 3D shape of the Env, a protein in the contours/membrane of the HIV virus (we also have results on Influenza). This is imperative to understanding the mechanism of the transmission of the virus across cells.”
“The best decision of my academic career was to choose Professor David Malah from the Technion as my master’s degree advisor, and Professor Allen Tannenbaum from the Technion as my PhD advisor.” He added that, “David and Allen were not only the best mentors a person can wish for, but extraordinary human beings. They have made me into who I am today. I not only learned science from them, but also how to approach research, how to collaborate, how to mentor, and basically every single component of what is needed to be a successful researcher and human being. We have remained good friends and communicate often. Moreover, in my doctoral studies I collaborated with Professor Alfred Bruckstein, from the Faculty of Computer Science at the Technion, and I can’t imagine a better way to complement my academic experience learning than working with him, David and Allen. All three of them instilled in me the joy of learning and discovery. I hope to be able to inspire my students as they encouraged me.”
The 2014 TCE conference will be held at the Technion on May 26-27, and will be attended by world leading researchers in machine learning, signal processing and computerized vision. Participants will include Professor Richard Baraniuk from Rice University, Professor Ronald Coifman from Yale University, Professor Peyman Milanfar from University of California, Santa Cruz, Professor Joachim Weickert from Saarland University in Germany, Professor Guy Gilboa, Professor Nati Srebro and Professor Ronen Talmon from the Technion, Professor Michal Irani from the Weizmann Institute, and Professor Amnon Shashua from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The TCE Conference Program can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/tceprog