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PhD in Brain Imaging: Uma Lal’s Career Path

February 6, 2023

Uma Lal was born on September 13th, 1997 in Tremp. Coming from a family of medical doctors and driven by a passion for Physics and Maths, Uma studied Biomedical Engineering at the University of Barcelona. During the last years of her degree, Uma developed an interest in the medical imaging field after taking two subjects that introduced her to the world of medical imaging techniques and image processing. To further her knowledge on the topic, she joined the Erasmus Mundus Master in Medical Imaging and Applications (MAIA), coordinated by the University of Girona.

 

Through her education, Uma acquired the necessary skills to approach medical needs through the analysis and processing of images. She first learned about the VICOROB group during her master’s program, where some professors exposed the main research being conducted in their group.

 

The master program allowed Uma to study in different countries and to do an international stay of 8 months at the School of Biomedical Informatics of the University of Texas in Houston (UTHealth SBMI). It was during this period that her passion for research in brain imaging developed, leading her to complete her master’s thesis, supervised by Dr. Luca Giancardo, on quantifying the infarct core signal using CT imaging in acute ischemic stroke. This work resulted in a publication in NeuroImage: Clinical (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2022.102998) and earned Uma two awards: the “INnovate & Inspire” EIT Health Spain Biomedical Engineering “Patient-focused Vision Award” (https://caseib.es/2021/eit-health-biomedical- engineering-award/) and the best master thesis award in the category “Research, Innovation and Development” from “Premis Patronat Politècnica” of University of Girona (https://patronateps.udg.edu/entrga-27-eidico-premis-patronat/).

 

After finishing her stay in Houston, Uma returned to Catalunya and spent 4 months working at the Neuroscience Institute at the University of Barcelona. Deciding to further her education, she contacted Dr. Xavier Lladó, a researcher in brain imaging in the VICOROB group, to pursue a PhD under his supervision due to positive memories of his classes during the master program and interest in his research.

 

Currently, Uma is in her first year of her PhD, with an IFUdG grant, under the co-supervision of Dr. Xavier Lladó (VICOROB, UdG) and Dr. Luca Giancardo (UTHealth SBMI, Houston).

 

Her research is focused on acute ischemic stroke and the development of models to predict the reperfusion success in patients treated with endovascular therapy using pre-operative brain imaging and clinical variables, with the goal of informing better patient clinical management.

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