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Outside the Lab Profession, Digital and computational pathology, Laboratory management, Technology and innovation

Paving the Computational Path

How did you get into digital pathology?
I was visiting a collaborator in the Yale University applied mathematics department in 2002 when he shared some multi-spectral images of colon histology sections for me to look at; It was fascinating to see nuclear and subcellular level details in those images. I did some initial image analysis on them using texture and morphological descriptors and found it amazing that one could differentiate between normal and cancerous features based on digital descriptors. I have been glued to pathology images since. After my return from the US, I initiated collaborations with other colleagues in the UK and Germany to work on pathology images myself before digital scanners were available – and before it became known as “digital and computational pathology.”

In 2008, we organized a computational histopathology workshop at the International Symposium for Biomedical Imaging; to the best of my knowledge, it was the first international meeting on computational pathology (1). A unique opportunity then came along in December 2010; a US slide scanning manufacturer looking for a demonstrator site and center of excellence in the UK chose Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital (the teaching hospital of the University of Warwick), at least partly due to our existing humble track record in digital pathology. That led to what still remains the world’s largest validation study on digital pathology for primary diagnosis, published in Histopathology 2016. The Coventry pathology lab became the first UK hospital pathology laboratory to do live reporting on digital slides and I was fortunate enough to be involved in that stellar effort, led by Ian Cree, from day one. That was a real turning point for us because it generated tons of imaging data being digitized on a daily basis. Today, most of the histopathology reporting in the lab is done digitally.

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About the Author

Olivia Gaskill

During my undergraduate degree in psychology and Master’s in neuroimaging for clinical and cognitive neuroscience, I realized the tasks my classmates found tedious – writing essays, editing, proofreading – were the ones that gave me the greatest satisfaction. I quickly gathered that rambling on about science in the bar wasn’t exactly riveting for my non-scientist friends, so my thoughts turned to a career in science writing. At Texere, I get to craft science into stories, interact with international experts, and engage with readers who love science just as much as I do.

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