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Research Overview

Algorithms can be applied to surgical challenges to facilitate decision making.  Artificial Intelligence has become a useful tool in providing faster healthcare service, diagnosis, and analysis of increasingly complex data sets. 

Our major focus in the Melcher Lab is the development and use of computer-aided algorithms in making complicated decisions in the practice of organ transplantation. 

We are developing AI-based algorithms to identify steatosis and other characteristics of liver donor biopsies that have an impact on graft outcomes. In addition, we are developing algorithms to assess how aggressive tumor metastases to the liver are.  The goal of this work is to be a tool for pathologists to help with specimen analysis and predicting surgical outcomes.

To make algorithms more accessible we also develop mobile apps that can be used in educational and even clinical settings.

Current Research

Currently, research in the lab revolves around:

  • Development of an AI platform to reasonably predict the outcome of neuroendocrine metastases in the liver
  • Creating an unsupervised AI device that would be able to analyze and provide data regarding biopsy slides without the need for a pathologist's input

A 3-D printed prototype of the AI device we're working on

Research Funding and Grants

Research in the lab is and has been funded through the following sources:

  • Stanford Surgery Seed Grant: 2018-19. “Using AI to Detect Histopathologic Features Predictive of Transplantable Donor Livers.”
  • Stanford Surgery Technology Seed Grant: 2020-21. "Development of a Portable Device Prototype to Quantify Hepatic Steatosis."
  • Google Cloud Grant:  2020-21. "Assessment of Donor Liver Histopathology Using Artificial Intelligence to Predict Post-Transplantation Outcomes." (Credits for use on the Google Cloud)