Dr. Sarah Kim awarded JDRF grant to study pancreatic imaging

Sarah Kim, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pharmaceutics in the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, has been awarded a three-year, $750,000 grant from JDRF to study improvements to pancreatic imaging.

Sarah Kim JDRF grant
Sarah Kim, Ph.D., pictured centered, along with co-investigators Damon Lamb, Ph.D. and Martha Campbell-Thompson, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Her study will employ artificial intelligence tools to accelerate the analysis of pancreas imaging and provide insights into a better understanding of the heterogeneity of pancreatic islets. Currently, the pancreas imaging analysis is based on a mixture of qualitative analysis performed by well-trained pathologists for histopathology and manual tracing of the structures for further quantitative analysis by clinical radiologists. These manually performed methods require long processing times, along with unavoidable human error factors and limited effectiveness.

Kim’s research will develop deep learning-based image analysis and informatics tools tracing the boundaries of the pancreatic islets and identifying β-cells, α-cells, and CD3+T cells (endocrine and exocrine) on immunohistochemistry whole-slide images and pancreatic MRI imaging. These automated quantitative analysis tools will accelerate the analysis of pancreas images and provide insights into a better understanding of the heterogeneity of the pancreatic islets, which will help compare across different Type 1 diabetes groups. The tools will be made available to the broader diabetes community as open-source programs.

This AI project will benefit from the enhanced research computing infrastructure at the University of Florida and preliminary results from a pilot study funded by UF Informatics Institute AI SEED Fund (PRDSP112). In this study, the UF researchers will leverage existing data which has been collected by the JDRF nPOD program, NIH DP3 TrialNet study (1DP3-DK-101120-01) and ongoing NIH R01 study (R01DK123329).

Kim’s co-investigators include Martha Campbell-Thompson, D.V.M., Ph.D., a professor in the department of pathology, immunology & laboratory medicine in the UF College of Medicine, and Damon Lamb, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry in the UF College of Medicine. Lamb also serves as a director of biomedical informatics, a research health scientist at the Brain Rehabilitation Research Center at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center, and an affiliate faculty member in neuroscience in the UF College of Medicine and the department of biomedical engineering.