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Thesis Defence: Mirella López Picazo

Thesis Defence: Mirella López Picazo



3D Subject-Specific Shape and Density Modeling of the Lumbar Spine from 2D DXA Images for Osteoporosis Assessment


Mirella López Picazo

Thesis supervisors: Dr. Miguel Ángel Gonzalez Ballester, Dr. Ludovic Humbert



Thesis Brief Description:

In my thesis, I developed a method providing a 3D subject-specific shape and density estimation of the lumbar spine from a single anteroposterior Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) image. The method is based on a 3D statistical shape and density model, built from a training set of Quantitative Computed Tomography (QCT) scans, and 3D-2D registration techniques. DXA-derived 3D measurements were performed at different vertebral regions and bone compartments of the 3D subject-specific shape and density estimation of the lumbar spine. Two case-control studies were also performed: a retrospective study evaluating the ability of DXA-derived 3D measurements at lumbar spine to discriminate between osteoporosis-related vertebral fractures and control groups; and a study evaluating the association between DXA-derived 3D measurements at lumbar spine and osteoporosis-related hip fractures. The technology developed within this thesis offers an insightful 3D analysis of the lumbar spine, which could potentially improve osteoporosis and fracture risk assessment in patients who had a standard DXA scan of the lumbar spine without any additional examination.


Experience as Indutrial PhD Student:

If there is something that was clear to me since I was a child, I wanted to be a scientific researcher. In the last years of my telecommunications engineering degree, I discovered research in biomedical engineering. It was love at first sight. Since then, I have focused my career in research and development of new methods of medical diagnosis from biomedical images and signals. Research at the university is really interesting, but I wanted something more. I wanted to focus my research from a practical point of view, and the Industrial PhD between the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Galgo Medical SL allowed me. These 4 years have been an amazing experience, both from the academic and personal perspectives. I have had the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary teams and learn from the different perspectives how to improve my research. I've participated in a European project, where I've worked in an interdisciplinary team of experts in my field of research. I've attended several conferences, where I had the opportunity to know the cutting-edge advancements on my research field. At the conferences I also learnt to defend oral presentations, participate in scientific discussion, meet very nice people and enjoy travelling. I am very grateful to my supervisors for providing me with the unique opportunity to work in this Industrial PhD program and for their constant encouragement which was vital throughout all the stages of my dissertation. Thanks for their patience and guidance throughout this thesis, regardless of the constant changes in the direction. Finally, this thesis would not have been possible without all the people who helped me along the way. I owe my deepest gratitude to all of them.





ODS - Objectius de desenvolupament sostenible:

ODS - Objetivos de desarrollo sostenible:

SDG - Sustainable Development Goals:

Els ODS a la UPF Los ODS en la UPF The ODS at UPF