Hertha Firnberg Fellow at the Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering

The Hertha Firnberg Fellowship was established by the FWF to support highly qualified young female researchers in their university careers. In 2021, the grant was awarded to Anna Breger, who is now starting her research work as a postdoc at MedUni Vienna as part of this programme.

With her research project "Image based Data Evaluation Analyses and Medical Application", Anna Breger and her new colleagues at the Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering aim to improve the generalisation of automated quality assessment of digital image data. Image quality assessment is indispensable for testing, improving and monitoring preceding methods and to ensure a certain quality for subsequent use.

The choice of the quality measure directly affects the outcome of the evaluation or even guides the development of a novel algorithm. Quality measures developed for the evaluation of natural images are often not very well suited for medical data, since their quality relies on very different properties. It is known that some of the image quality measures frequently used for evaluating new algorithms in machine learning can fail to detect important features in medical images.

The aim of the project is to design an adaptable image quality measure for the evaluation of novel machine learning methods for medical data, which can be applied and adapted for diverse imaging modalities. Analyses and adaptation of already well researched medical image quality measures for specific applications will play an important role in this process, as well as new mathematical models for representations of the data. Interdisciplinary collaborations, including partners at the Harvard Medical School and the University of Texas at Austin, will create a bridge between research on medical imaging, image quality evaluation and data representations.

About Anna Breger
Anna Breger completed her PhD in applied Mathematics with distinction at the University of Vienna in 2019. She was already working with MedUni Vienna scientists in her predoctoral research and fostered her interest in medical applications during a Marshall Plan Fellowship at Harvard Medical School in Boston (USA). In 2021, she received the L’Oréal-UNESCO Fellowship For Women in Science for her research project entitled "Image Quality Assessment in Medical Imaging". Since 2022, she has been a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge (UK) working on automated Covid-19 prediction using X-ray data. In July 2022, she is starting the research project "Image-based analyses for medical data evaluation" at MedUni Vienna’s Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering as a Hertha Firnberg Fellow.