Dr. Carolyn Glass Receives Grant to Create Digital Polarization Tool to Diagnose Specimens Remotely

Carolyn Glass, MD, PhD, associate professor in Pathology, co-director of the Duke Division of AI and Computational Pathology, and Roarke Horstmeyer PhD, assistant professor in Biomedical Engineering and adjunct faculty in the Division of AI and Computational Pathology, have been awarded a $100,000 North Carolina Biotechnology Translational Research Grant to develop a polarization tool for digitized glass slides.  

While reviewing her cardiac native heart and lung transplant biopsy slides remotely during the SARS-CoV2 pandemic using a digitized platform, Glass was unable to polarize her virtual slides to diagnose amyloid, aspirated foreign material, or specific organisms. She approached her biomedical engineering colleagues who specialized in optics to ask them to build a digital tool that would enable a pathologist to polarize specimens using a digitized glass slide – a type of scanner-agnostic digital pathology platform. This tool would enable efficient diagnosis of such specimens remotely.

Through previous collaborative work, the team developed a new computational microscopy method with polarization properties termed Vectorial Fourier Ptychography (vFP), to measure the complex amplitude and phase transmission of thin tissue samples. Through a simple modification of a conventional polarized light microscope (i.e., replacing the source with an LED array) and a new computational reconstruction algorithm, this method was able to detect the exact areas that previously exhibited positive Congo-Red birefringence. Read their publication, “Quantitative Jones Matrix Imaging Using Vectorial Fourier Ptychography.”  (Dai X, Xu S, Yang X, Zhou KC, Glass C, Konda PC, Horstmeyer R. Biomed Opt Express. 2022 Feb 14;13(3):1457-1470).

Glass will serve as clinical lead and co-principal investigator, in collaboration with Horstmeyer (engineer lead, principal investigator). Jadee Neff, MD, PhD, will also serve as collaborator of this grant to investigate potential uses in hematology.

The Translational Research Grant (TRG) program funds projects that explore commercial applications or initiate the early commercial development of university-held life sciences inventions. The technology must have the potential to solve a real-world problem as a commercial product in the life sciences sector to transform basic research discoveries into product-focused translational research development. Learn more about the TRG program.