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NEW ORLEANS – awarded Bradley Spieler, MD, Vice Chairman of Radiology Research and Associate Professor of Radiology, and Emma R. Schachner, PhD, Associate Professor of Cell Biology & Anatomy, at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, the 2020 Best Radiology Image for their COVID-19 lung model project.

Drs. Spieler and Schachner collaborated to create 3D models that clearly visualize the distribution of COVID-19-related infection in the respiratory system. They segmented contrast-enhanced thoracic CT scans into 3D digital surface models using the same scientific visualization program and techniques that the Schachner Lab uses for evolutionary anatomy research. Their work, complete with imagery and video, was published in BMJ Case Reports in August.

“We believe our models help to better demonstrate the impact that coronavirus can have upon the lungs for not only healthcare professionals but also the public at large,” says Dr. Spieler. has been called the largest and most comprehensive community website for medical imaging professionals worldwide.

“Our aim is to take some of the most advanced 3D modeling methods from the evolutionary and anatomical sciences and apply them in creative ways to clinical questions in radiology,” notes Dr. Schachner. “Particularly those associated with COVID-19 and potentially other associated cardiopulmonary disorders moving forward.”

The LSU Health New Orleans team is now designing follow-up studies to determine other uses for the models, such as providing an estimate of how long a patient may require intensive care or which patients may need a ventilator.

“It is with great pride that we accept this award as it exemplifies the spirit of a collaborative approach to patient care between the clinical and basic sciences,” adds Dr. Spieler. “Dr. Schachner and I champion a collective approach to health care and strive to bolster the promotion of such partnerships at LSU Health New Orleans and beyond.”