Image Analysis of Vascular Casts

Period of Performance: 09/01/2000 - 08/31/2001


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Barlow Scientific, Inc.
Olympia, WA 98502
Principal Investigator


The goal of this research is to develop rapid, automated instrumentation procedures for detailed analysis of complete arterial networks in hearts. Measured parameters will include arterial diameter, frequency of arterial branching, branch lengths, and angles. This research is based on the working hypothesis that data for rapid reconstruction of detailed vascular maps can be obtained from digital fluorescence images of freshly exposed surfaces during serial sectioning of tissue blocks containing fluorescent vascular filling compound in the vascular network. During Phase I, an imaging cryomicrotome was modified to obtain vascula filling compound fluorescence images from rat hearts and lungs during serial sectioning. Optimal conditions for arterial filling and for image collection were explored. Prelminary analysis sofiware was developed. Phase II studies will involve correlations of vascular structure and vascular flow in heart and vascular structure and pulmonary function in lungs through collaborations with subcontractors at the University of Washington. During Phase II, efforts will be concentrated on soflware development to convert image data into databases sultable for physiological network analysis. This project will provide physiology and microcirculation researchers 'with an improved and affordable tool for vascular network mapping and for network analysis of vascular, pulmonary, neural and other networks in biological systems. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: This technology would automate methods for evaluating vascular networks. Procedures that currently take months to years will be shortened to hours and days. Potential markets include research laboratories currently studying vascular branching and a large number of additional researchers who could now evaluate questions of vascular physiology that could not previously be answered due to time consumption and cost of data acquisition and analysis.