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Polina Golland

MIT professor Polina Golland

Credit: MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Polina Golland is a principal investigator at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, where she is working on new techniques for modeling brain activity.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging has been used to identify regions of the brain that receive a rush of blood when test subjects are asked to perform certain cognitive tasks. Golland and her research team are working with neuroscientists to develop mathematical models to distinguish between the background patterns of a resting brain and the activity generated by performing complex tasks.

She says the models tend to bring hypotheses into sharper focus, which lead to their revision and even newer models, in a continual process of improvement. “I love that process,” Golland says. "They refine their notions of what they’re trying to formulate, and we understand much more about what’s known about the biology."

She also is interested in anatomical variation and how algorithms can be developed to automatically identify organs in medical images. Golland notes that medical images are problematic because organs have subtly different shapes, so the challenge is developing a mathematical model of organ shapes that is flexible enough to identify organs that have been grossly distorted.

From MIT News 
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