The Centre has a long history of developing new techniques for medical imaging (particularly in magnetic resonance imaging), transforming them from a primarily diagnostic modality into an interventional and therapeutic platform. This is facilitated by the Centre's strong engineering background in practical imaging and image analysis platform development, as well as advances in minimal access and robotic assisted surgery. Hamlyn has a strong tradition in pursuing basic sciences and theoretical research, with a clear focus on clinical translation.

In response to the current paradigm shift and clinical demand in bringing cellular and molecular imaging modalities to an in vivo – in situ setting during surgical intervention, our recent research has also been focussed on novel biophotonics platforms that can be used for real-time tissue characterisation, functional assessment, and intraoperative guidance during minimally invasive surgery. This includes, for example, SMART confocal laser endomicroscopy, time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy and flexible FLIM catheters.

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  • Journal article
    Thompson A, Bourke C, Robertson R, Shivakumar N, Edwards C, Preston T, Holmes E, Paul K, Gary F, Douglas Met al., 2021,

    Understanding the role of the gut in undernutrition: what can technology tell us?

    , Gut, Vol: 70, Pages: 1580-1594, ISSN: 0017-5749

    Gut function remains largely underinvestigated in undernutrition, despite its critical role in essential nutrient digestion, absorption and assimilation. In areas of high enteropathogen burden, alterations in gut barrier function and subsequent inflammatory effects are observable but remain poorly characterised. Environmental enteropathy (EE)—a condition that affects both gut morphology and function and is characterised by blunted villi, inflammation and increased permeability—is thought to play a role in impaired linear growth (stunting) and severe acute malnutrition. However, the lack of tools to quantitatively characterise gut functional capacity has hampered both our understanding of gut pathogenesis in undernutrition and evaluation of gut-targeted therapies to accelerate nutritional recovery. Here we survey the technology landscape for potential solutions to improve assessment of gut function, focussing on devices that could be deployed at point-of-care in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). We assess the potential for technological innovation to assess gut morphology, function, barrier integrity and immune response in undernutrition, and highlight the approaches that are currently most suitable for deployment and development. This article focuses on EE and undernutrition in LMICs, but many of these technologies may also become useful in monitoring of other gut pathologies.

  • Journal article
    Kim J, Yeatman E, Thompson A, 2021,

    Plasmonic optical fiber for bacteria manipulation—characterization and visualization of accumulation behavior under plasmo-thermal trapping

    , Biomedical Optics Express, Vol: 12, Pages: 3917-3933, ISSN: 2156-7085

    In this article, we demonstrate a plasmo-thermal bacterial accumulation effect usinga miniature plasmonic optical fiber. Combined action of far-field convection and a near-fieldtrapping force (referred to as thermophoresis)—induced by highly localized plasmonicheating—enabled large-area accumulation of Escherichia coli. The estimated thermophoretictrapping force agreed with previous reports, and we applied speckle imaging analysis to mapthe in-plane bacterial velocities over large areas. This is the first time that spatial mapping ofbacterial velocities has been achieved in this setting. Thus, this analysis technique providesopportunities to better understand this phenomenon and to drive it towards in vivo applications.

  • Journal article
    Lett A, Lim A, Skinner C, Maurice J, Vergis N, Darzi A, Goldin R, Thursz M, Thompson Aet al., 2021,

    Rapid, non-invasive measurement of gastric emptying rate using transcutaneous fluorescence spectroscopy

    , Biomedical Optics Express, Vol: 12, Pages: 4249-4264, ISSN: 2156-7085

    Gastric emptying rate (GER) signifies the rate at which the stomach empties following ingestion of a meal and is relevant to a wide range of clinical conditions. GER also represents a rate limiting step in small intestinal absorption and so is widely assessed for research purposes. Despite the clinical and physiological importance of gastric emptying, methods used to measure GER possess a series of limitations (including being invasive, slow or unsuitable for certain patient populations). Here, we present a new technique based on transcutaneous (through-the-skin) fluorescence spectroscopy that is fast, non-invasive, and does not require the collection of samples or laboratory-based analysis. Thus, this approach has the potential to allow immediate reporting of clinical results. Using this new method, participants receive an oral dose of a fluorescent contrast agent and a wearable probe detects the uptake of the agent from the gut into the blood stream. Analysis of the resulting data then permits the calculation of GER. We compared our spectroscopic technique to the paracetamol absorption test (a clinically approved GER test) in a clinical study of 20 participants. Results demonstrated good agreement between the two approaches and, hence, the clear potential of transcutaneous fluorescence spectroscopy for clinical assessment of GER.

  • Journal article
    Mbuki R, Chileya S, Thompson AJ, Kelly P, Kayamba Vet al., 2021,

    Rapid testing of gut permeability using oral fluorescein and confocal laser endomicroscopy in Zambian adults

  • Journal article
    Qiu J, Lo FP-W, Jiang S, Tsai Y-Y, Sun Y, Lo Bet al., 2021,

    Counting bites and recognizing consumed food from videos for passive dietary monitoring.

    , IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Vol: 25, Pages: 1471-1482, ISSN: 2168-2194

    Assessing dietary intake in epidemiological studies are predominantly based on self-reports, which are subjective, inefficient, and also prone to error. Technological approaches are therefore emerging to provide objective dietary assessments. Using only egocentric dietary intake videos, this work aims to provide accurate estimation on individual dietary intake through recognizing consumed food items and counting the number of bites taken. This is different from previous studies that rely on inertial sensing to count bites, and also previous studies that only recognize visible food items but not consumed ones. As a subject may not consume all food items visible in a meal, recognizing those consumed food items is more valuable. A new dataset that has 1,022 dietary intake video clips was constructed to validate our concept of bite counting and consumed food item recognition from egocentric videos. 12 subjects participated and 52 meals were captured. A total of 66 unique food items, including food ingredients and drinks, were labelled in the dataset along with a total of 2,039 labelled bites. Deep neural networks were used to perform bite counting and food item recognition in an end-to-end manner. Experiments have shown that counting bites directly from video clips can reach 74.15% top-1 accuracy (classifying between 0-4 bites in 20-second clips), and a MSE value of 0.312 (when using regression). Our experiments on video-based food recognition also show that recognizing consumed food items is indeed harder than recognizing visible ones, with a drop of 25% in F1 score.

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