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Honorable Mention, 2013

Ileum Skyline

Mark Lloyd, Biological Sciences

The submitted fluorescent image is a compilation view of thousands of high resolution images tiled together. This technology enables pathologists, the specialized physicians who review microscope slides to diagnose disease, the ability to quantify aspects of the digital images which were previously reserved only for subjective qualitative scoring. My PhD thesis explores novel aspects of pathology which take advantage of this technological advancement.

Just a few short decades ago images from space enabled ecologists to view large tracks of land and gave rise to the discipline of landscape ecology. My research focuses on interrogating micrographs of histological sections with a similar focus for cancer patients. It is becoming increasingly clear that a single patient's tumor is not a homogenous mass of uncontrolled cancer cells but rather a heterogeneous mix of cancer phenotypes. Ultimately I propose that intratumoral spatial diversity represents predictable cellular adaptations derived from Darwinian dynamics which are identifiable in local micro-environments. Understanding these variations will make it possible to optimize therapies specific to a patient's situation.

This submission for the Image of Research is an example of the power of digital pathology and its potential role in precision medicine. This is the proposed novel discipline of Landscape Pathology.