DALLAS, Jan. 29, 2020 — Research to detect and predict blocked arteries and cardiovascular risk using knee MRI images  has been recognized by the American Heart Association’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine. Chun Yuan, Ph.D., Professor of Radiology and Bioengineering and Vice Chair for Global Affairs at the University of Washington (Seattle), conducted the winning research through the American Heart Association’s Precision Medicine Platform™, which is powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). The American Heart Association, as part of its mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives, has collaborated with AWS to fund a competition for scientific research focused on using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to improve understanding of data related to precision medicine, powered by innovative cloud technology.

Dr. Yuan, and his colleagues, used AWS service credits to leverage the power of cloud computing, open data and new tools for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Using the Precision Medicine Platform’s integrated data analytics workspace and research environment, Yuan was able to reduce the time required to read an MRI from four hours (by an expert) down to seven minutes (by a cloud-based data analysis computer program).  With advanced deep learning techniques, the computer program is able to identify artery location, delineate vessel wall contours, quantify vascular features, and identify arteries with diseases from MR knee scans without any human interventions. Yuan’s work could ultimately help improve the speed with which various cardiovascular conditions are diagnosed, offer new opportunities in personalized medicine and improve quality of life for patients

Dr. Yuan’s data science grant from the American Heart Association Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine provides $200,000 over two years as well as an additional $50,000 in AWS service credits (provided by AWS)  for use on the Institute’s Precision Medicine Platform for computational time, use of AWS tools and infrastructure and data storage. As the winner of the award, Dr. Yuan receives $10,000 dollars in prize money from AWS and the Association’s Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine Journal.

“The especially exciting thing about this research is that we are able to use our technology to detect diseased blood vessels in knee images that were not acquired with that in mind,” Dr. Yuan said “as well as using Artificial Intelligence to greatly shorten the time it takes to review these images.”

“These awards are designed to inspire the brightest minds in computer science,” said Jennifer Hall, Ph.D., Chief of the Association’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine. “By offering researchers like Dr. Yuan secure workspaces and new tools for data analysis, we aim to drive fresh approaches to improve Precision Medicine.”

Dr. Yuan is the latest researcher to receive the award from the American Heart Association and AWS through the Association’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine, which is dedicated to advancing precision medicine in cardiovascular and brain health research. Since 2013, the Institute has presented 93 awards totaling $30.2 million plus AWS computational cloud credits valued at more than $2 million.

The judges of the competition were Taha Kass-Hout, MD, from Amazon, Ona Wu, Ph.D., from Harvard and Stacey Knight, Ph.D., from Intermountain Healthcare. Dr. Wu and Dr. Knight are grant recipients from previous award grant cycles.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

About the American Heart Association’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine
The American Heart Association's Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine aims to advance the science and practice of personalized medicine to improve the cardiovascular health of individuals and populations. The Institute is working to create products and services that integrate research with more precise approaches to reverse and prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke. To further advance our mission and Institute's goals, we offer funding opportunities to scientists of all fields. To learn more or to get involved, visit http://institute.heart.org.


For Media Inquiries:

Pamela Kreigh: 214-706-1434; pamela.kreigh@heart.org

Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org