Bioengineering professor Yogatheesan Varatharajah receives NSF CRII award to study domain-guided machine learning for clinical decision support in epilepsy
Bioengineering professor Yogatheesan Varatharajah received an NSF CRII award to study domain-guided machine learning for clinical decision support in epilepsy. The National Science Foundation's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Research Initiation Initiative (NSF CRII) provides essential resources for early-career PIs to launch their research careers. Varatharajah's research interests are in developing domain-guided models for analyzing healthcare datasets with a focus on neurological applications.
Electroencephalography (EEG) is a test that monitors electrical activities in the brain. Neurologists and epileptologists visually review and interpret the readings to determine if there are any abnormalities such as seizures. This process is not only a burden to healthcare providers and contributes to the escalation of their burnout, but it also leaves room for human error and bias.
For this project, Varatharajah and collaborators from Mayo Clinic will work on a set of novel domain-guided analytical methods to develop a fully automated and efficient quantitative EEG framework, and utilize it to improve the sensitivity of epilepsy diagnosis. These analytical methods will possess the ability to capture the spatiotemporal dynamics of EEG data, interpret model predictions, and quantify prediction uncertainty, with the goal of assisting clinical experts with decision making.
Varatharajah joined the bioengineering faculty in 2020 after completing his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, during which he was mentored by Dr. Gregory Worrell at the Mayo Clinic through the Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance. He has jointly published multiple articles on this research theme with Mayo Clinic collaborators including in the Journal of Neural Engineering, Brain Communications, Clinical Neurophysiology, and the International Journal of Neural Systems. This project will continue to leverage the computing expertise from Illinois with the clinical domain expertise of Mayo Clinic. Varatharajah is a member of the American Epilepsy Society and was recognized with the society's Young Investigator Award in 2020.